Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Cloud

9/16/2019
01:40 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Data Leak Affects Most of Ecuador's Population

An unsecured database containing 18GB of data exposed more than 20 million records, most of which held details about Ecuadorian citizens.

Researchers have discovered a misconfigured database containing 18GB of information, including 20.8 million personal records. Most of the individuals affected are in Ecuador, which to put the leak into context, has a population of only 16.6 million; 6.7 million are children.

The difference between the number of records and Ecuador's population can be attributed to duplicate and older information, which includes data of deceased individuals. Noam Rotem and Ran Locar, both researchers with vpnMentor, discovered the unprotected database on an Elasticsearch server, which appear to be owned by Ecuadorian consulting company Novaestrat.

It seems the database held information pulled from outside sources including Ecuadorian government registries, the Aeade automotive association, and the Biess Ecuadorian bank. Data taken from both public sources and private databases was collected in the unsecured database.

Researchers unearthed a range of personal data belonging to Ecuadorian citizens: full name, gender, birthdate, place of birth, home and email address, phone numbers (work, home, and mobile), marital status, level of education, date of marriage, and date of death, if applicable. Individuals are identified by a ten-digit national identification number called a "cédula."

An investigation to validate the data led researchers to financial data linked to accounts held with Biess, including account status, balance, credit type, amount financed, and the location and contact information for the person's local Biess branch, vpnMentor explains in a blog post.

What the team found particularly concerning is the extent of detailed family information stored in the database. Researchers were able to view the full names of the mother, father, and spouse, as well as the cédula for each person. They found 6.7 million entries for children under the age of 18, including name, cédula, place of birth, gender, and home address, ZDNet reports.

Further, the leak exposed detailed employment data: employer name and location, employer tax identification number, job title, salary information, and the start and end dates for each position. Researchers also found automotive records that could be linked to car owners through their taxpayer ID number; leaked data includes the car's make, model, license plate number, date of purchase, most recent registration date, and other technical data about the car.

Companies Exposed, Too

On top of the troves of personal data exposed, the leak compromised potentially sensitive information belonging to Ecuadorian companies. Researchers were able to view many businesses' Ecuadorian taxpayer identification number, address, and contact details, as well as each firm's legal representative and their contact information.

VpnMentor and security industry experts worry about the long-term privacy implications for those affected by the incident. As the team points out, the personally identifiable information compromised in this leak could put people at risk of phishing attacks and phone scams; the extent of data exposed could put organizations at risk of corporate espionage or fraud.

While the industry is no stranger to cloud mishaps and data leaks, some are concerned about the extent of records compromised. As Javvak Malik, security awareness advocate at KnowBe4, points out, this is another in "a very long list" of cloud-based databases leaking information.

"But this is particularly significant due to the number of records and the sensitivity of the data," he adds. "Most troubling perhaps being the data of children being stolen," which can be used to set up fake identities or take out loans. Before creating such large databases, he says, companies and governments should ask whether such a collection is necessary or legal. They should determine if they can properly secure it and assess the impact of a potential leak.

Related Content:

Check out The Edge, Dark Reading's new section for features, threat data, and in-depth perspectives. Today's top story: "Escaping Email: Unlocking Message Security for SMS, WhatsApp."

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
News
Inside the Ransomware Campaigns Targeting Exchange Servers
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/2/2021
Commentary
Beyond MITRE ATT&CK: The Case for a New Cyber Kill Chain
Rik Turner, Principal Analyst, Infrastructure Solutions, Omdia,  3/30/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-3493
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-17
The overlayfs implementation in the linux kernel did not properly validate with respect to user namespaces the setting of file capabilities on files in an underlying file system. Due to the combination of unprivileged user namespaces along with a patch carried in the Ubuntu kernel to allow unprivile...
CVE-2021-3492
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-17
Shiftfs, an out-of-tree stacking file system included in Ubuntu Linux kernels, did not properly handle faults occurring during copy_from_user() correctly. These could lead to either a double-free situation or memory not being freed at all. An attacker could use this to cause a denial of service (ker...
CVE-2020-2509
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-17
A command injection vulnerability has been reported to affect QTS and QuTS hero. If exploited, this vulnerability allows attackers to execute arbitrary commands in a compromised application. We have already fixed this vulnerability in the following versions: QTS 4.5.2.1566 Build 20210202 and later Q...
CVE-2020-36195
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-17
An SQL injection vulnerability has been reported to affect QNAP NAS running Multimedia Console or the Media Streaming add-on. If exploited, the vulnerability allows remote attackers to obtain application information. QNAP has already fixed this vulnerability in the following versions of Multimedia C...
CVE-2021-29445
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-16
jose-node-esm-runtime is an npm package which provides a number of cryptographic functions. In versions prior to 3.11.4 the AES_CBC_HMAC_SHA2 Algorithm (A128CBC-HS256, A192CBC-HS384, A256CBC-HS512) decryption would always execute both HMAC tag verification and CBC decryption, if either failed `JWEDe...