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Study Finds Petabytes of Sensitive Data Open to the Internet

New research by Digital Shadows finds more than 1.5 billion sensitive files are open to discovery on the internet.

Companies are putting their sensitive data on the internet for all the world to see. That's the conclusion of research published by security firm Digital Shadows, which found more than 1.5 billion sensitive files visible on the internet.

Misconfigured S3 buckets, NAS devices, FTP servers, and other storage and gateway systems were responsible for the vast majority of the visible files, the company says.

Visible data includes everything from patent applications to employee information, though payroll and tax return information accounted for the largest group of files available, with more than three-quarters of a million total files of these types seen. In all, Digital Shadows found more than 12 petabytes of sensitive information available to anyone bothering to look.

Third-party contractors misconfiguring systems was seen as the most significant cause of the open information. While S3 buckets have been in the news recently as a source of free data, Digital Shadows found that they only account for 7% of exposed data; technologies such as SMB (33%), rsync (28%), and FTP (26%) were responsible for the bulk of the data availability.

Digital Shadows notes that the rapidly approaching implementation of GDPR should provide companies with additional impetus to review the status of their systems and make configuration changes where necessary.

For more, read here.

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