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Cloud

2/28/2019
01:35 PM
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Data Leak Exposes Dow Jones Watchlist Database

The Watchlist, which contained the identities of government officials, politicians, and people of political interest, is used to identify risk when researching someone.

A data leak from an unsecured Elasticsearch server has exposed the Dow Jones Watchlist database, which contains information on high-risk individuals and was left on a server sans password.

Watchlist is used by major global financial institutions to identify risk while researching individuals. It helps detect instances of crime, such as money laundering and illegal payments, by providing data on public figures. Watchlist has global coverage of senior political figures, national and international government sanction lists, people linked to or convicted of high-profile crime, and profile notes from Dow Jones citing federal agencies and law enforcement. 

The leak was discovered by security researcher Bob Diachenko, who found a copy of the Watchlist on a public Elasticsearch cluster sized 4.4GB. The database exposed 2.4 million records and was publicly available to anyone who knew where to find it – for example, with an Internet of Things (IoT) search engine, he explained in a blog post.

It's important to note that data in the database, which has since been taken down, originated from public sources. Watchlist collects licensed and available news from publications around the world; a research team provides updates on listed individuals' names and relations.

While it is public data, Diachenko warned that exposing Watchlist "could be reckless" given the nature of information it contains and the people included in it.

This isn't the first time a misconfigured cloud server has put Dow Jones data at risk. In July 2017, a data leak exposed personal information of millions of customers. The culprit? An Amazon Web Services S3 bucket set to let any AWS Authenticated User download its data.

Read more details on the Watchlist leak here.

 

 

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Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
2/28/2019 | 2:13:53 PM
S3 again
Geez... ANOTHER data leak on the open cloud! How many years now have we been seeing these headlines?

All the more galling because (1) you generally have to set such things to be public yourself, and (2) this apparently isn't the first time DJ's done this.

Geez...
RyanSepe
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RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
2/28/2019 | 7:14:20 PM
Re: S3 again
Yup, and we are going to see this more and more on misconfigured S3 buckets. My advice, when Amazon provides the secure config they should make it so that any changes to their buckets that may decrease security have to be approved by amazon's security team on S3. Otherwise, you are going to continue to see clients of AWS willingly decreasing the S3 security posture because they aren't aware of how to accomplish the desired function without stripping it bare. 
kilroy71
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kilroy71,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/28/2019 | 9:58:11 PM
Time for AWS tp make an architectursl change
An open file share on an internal network would at most expose the data to employees. Make the same mistake in AWS and it is exposed to the entire internet. AWS S3 Buckets have their purpose, but they really should be hard segmented so that internal buckets are internal only and cannot be public and external buckets are really that -external.

People are going to continue to make mistakes. Time to modify the architecture so that the mistskes are less disasterous.
Kelly White
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Kelly White,
User Rank: Author
2/28/2019 | 10:24:04 PM
Time for AWS to make a much needed architectural change to S3
AWS S3 is inherently dangerous. No safety mechanisms built in. Make one mistake and your data is exposed to the internet. It is like driving a car with no seat belts, no airbags, and no crumple zone. Make a single mistake and you will be seriously or even die. That is AWS S3. 

Time for AWS to make completely segmented buckets. Provide internal buckets that are only internal -  no config change can make them external.  And provide external buckets that are external only.  People are going to keep making mistakes. Make this simple change  so that the mistakes aren't so catastrophic.  
REISEN1955
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REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
3/1/2019 | 8:46:53 AM
Re: Time for AWS to make a much needed architectural change to S3
In simple view - gee, no password?  Security genius at work - guess makes life easy doesn't it. 
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
3/3/2019 | 7:54:55 PM
Re: S3 again
@Ryan: Which would drain Amazon reseources and drive up the cost of services for the 90+% of cloud customers who are just fine (who in turn will have to drive up their costs to their customers).

At a certain point, trying to protect people against their own stupidity smacks against the law of diminishing returns.
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