Data-broker leak exposes 340 million personal records

Hacking

Troia also points out that he's been able to discover information on nearly every person he's searched for in the database, going as far as saying that it contains data for "pretty much every citizen in the US".

Financial information like credit cards or bank account numbers isn't among the leaked data nor are social security numbers.

The database he unearthed contained two terabytes of information, so much data it would take around five full days and nights to download on a 38Mb broadband connection. He was looking for ElasticSearch databases that can be seen on public servers with U.S. IP addresses.

Exactis is not a company that I had even heard about until today, but apparently, they have probably heard of me.

As well as the massive scope of the leak, the database went into astonishing detail about the lives of the people it covered. He says the data belongs to the marketing company Exactis, which is based in Palm Coast, Florida. "I searched celebrities, I searched people I know", he said. Just because Social Security numbers and credit card information weren't exposed doesn't mean individuals aren't at risk for identity theft, CNET reported.

Once he stumbled across the data dump and examined its contents, he contacted both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Exactis, the latter of which made the data inaccessible shortly after Troia's notification. According to Wired, Troia accessed the database on the Internet, and found that it was unprotected by a firewall.

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On the company's website, Exactis.com, the firm describes itself as a "leading compiler and aggregator of premium business and computer data", storing "over 3.5 billion records (updated monthly)".

Each record has some worryingly in-depth information, including names, phone numbers, home addresses, and email addresses.

Robert Capps, vice president and authentication strategist for NuData Security, a behavioral biometrics company based in Vancouver, British Columbia, said "if US citizens did not think their personal information has ever been compromised, this should convince them it definitely is".

The suit alleges Exactis failed to protect millions of Americans from data breaches and seeks to recover monetary damages and other relief from those affected.

"I wrote a script to literally query all of them and put the output into a file and then looked for specific keywords within the tables that might be interesting like name, date of birth", he says. Approximately, about 230 million records are of USA adults while the remaining 110 million are of US business contacts. Speaking with Wired, the president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center said there's still a chance fraudsters could have profiled and impersonated users.

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