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11/16/2018
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26M Texts Exposed in Poorly Secured Vovox Database

The server, which lacked password protection, contained tens of millions of SMS messages, two-factor codes, shipping alerts, and other user data.

A poorly secured database exposed at least 26 million text messages, password reset links and codes, two-factor verification codes, temporary passwords, shipping alerts, and other information belonging to customers of companies including Microsoft, Amazon, and Google.

The leaky database, owned by communications firm Vovox, was found on Shodan by Sébastien Kaul, a security researcher based in Berlin. Kaul discovered the database lacked password protection and left names, phone numbers, and text messages easily searchable. Vovox took down the database after it was contacted with an inquiry from TechCrunch.

However, while the server was still running, anyone could have obtained two-factor codes sent by people attempting account logins. This level of accessibility could have let someone easily take over an account protected with two-factor authentication and an SMS verification code.

While the codes and links exposed are only useful for a finite period of time, there is a risk that attackers were able to compromise users. Security experts have long been wary of SMS verification, saying it's insufficient to properly protect users' data – a lesson learned in the August Reddit breach, which engineers said was rooted in SMS-based two-factor authentication.

Read more details about the Vovox leak here.

 

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Zia Hayat
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Zia Hayat,
User Rank: Author
11/26/2018 | 7:11:06 PM
More Reason to Abandon 2FA
If it's an unsecured database like this instance or even more covert operations like SIM-swap fraud, it's clear that securing our digital identities is getting more complex. Even companies who are one step ahead of the game with hardened verification apps, USB or fobs can suffer if they or any of their partners with access are practicing poor security hygiene in other places.
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Beth Burgin Waller, Chair, Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Practice , Woods Rogers PLC,  12/5/2019
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Diya Jolly, Chief Product Officer, Okta,  12/4/2019
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