5/23/2018
08:20 AM

LA County Nonprofit Exposes 3.2M PII Files via Unsecured S3 Bucket

A misconfiguration accidentally compromised credentials, email addresses, and 200,000 rows of notes describing abuse and suicidal distress.



Los Angeles County 211, an LA-based nonprofit providing information and referrals for health and human services in LA County, accidentally exposed 3.2 million files through a misconfigured Amazon Web Services S3 storage bucket, the UpGuard Cyber Risk Team reported this week.

UpGuard discovered the bucket on March 14, 2018. While not all files were publicly downloadable, those that were included Postgres database backups and CSV exports of the data, which contained thousands of rows of personal information. UpGuard reached a member of the security team on April 24; soon after, the bucket was no longer accessible.

Downloadable files included access credentials for employees operating the 211 system, email addresses for contacts and registered sources of LA County 211, and most concerningly, call notes pertaining to conversations with people in need. Notes include the reasons for calls and the personally identifiable information of people reporting problems, and in some cases, reported abusers. Within three million rows of call logs are 200,000 rows of notes describing abuse and suicidal distress, raising major privacy concerns.

It's not the first time an organization has compromised data in a misconfigured S3 bucket; however, the LA County 211 incident is significant because of the population it serves. The nonprofit provides badly needed services to hundreds of thousands of people each year. All types of reports are collected in a single database, which makes sense from a functional perspective but simultaneously creates a "crown jewel" of data for attackers, says UpGuard.

Read more details here.

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