Personal data of 1.2 billion people was available online

A database containing names, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, workplaces and social network profile information of 1.2 billion people was freely available online until it was reported at the FBI in mid-October.

Cybersecurity researchers Bob Diachenko and Vinny Troia discovered the database on October 16th. According to them, the data originated from two companies specializing in the sale of data for advertising targeting and marketing purposes, otherwise known as “data enrichment” companies.

One of these companies is the California-based People Data Labs (PDL), which told the Wired site that the data was probably put online by one of its customers. That’s because they were found by researchers in a Google Cloud server, while PDL stores its information on an Amazon Web Services server.

The other target company is OxyData.Io. These are more than 4 terabytes of data that were found by the researchers.

No sensitive data, but…

The database contained more than 1 billion email addresses, 1 billion links to Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, and 400 million phone numbers, but no information considered sensitive, such as passwords and credit card numbers. credit.

What worries researchers however is that the sum of the data compiled could be used by malicious people if their purpose is to impersonate someone .

PDL’s sales manager told Wired that its customers must commit to not selling the data they buy.

No one knows for the moment where the information came from or if someone had accessed the database before it was discovered and reported.

The researchers submitted the data to the website Have I Been Pwned (New Window) , which offers a service to check for free if one of its email addresses is part of a data leak or has been stolen by hackers.

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