Marketing Firm Exposes 340 Million Records on US Consumers

Exactis exposed 340 million personal records to the internet

Exactis exposed 340 million personal records to the internet

Troia told Wired that he found the Exactis leak with a simple Shodan search for ElasticSearch databases on publicly accessible servers in the U.S. While there is a huge trove of personal information, the dataset does not include Social Security numbers or credit cards, so experts said it would be more useful for social engineering. This database contains over 2 Terabytes of data, with close to 340 million individual records.

The database does, however, include loads of personal information on individuals including "phone numbers, home addresses, email addresses and other highly personal characteristics for every name", according to Wired.

The data leak is noteworthy not only for its breadth, but also for the depth of information the records have on people. He was looking for ElasticSearch databases that can be seen on public servers with U.S. IP addresses. Exactis has apparently since protected the database, though it may be too late.

Marketing agency Exactis has revealed a data breach that could have left the personal information of 340 million customers exposed. "I searched celebrities, I searched people I know", he said. This means that people don't have to worry about their credit card or debit card information being included in the Exactis data leak.

Troia contacted Exactis and the Federal Bureau of Investigation about the exposed database, with Exactis going on to protect the data and make it inaccessible. The amount of personal information that was exposed could still help scammers impersonate or profile them.

The breach was discovered by security researcher Vinny Troia.

The said database has now been reconfigured by Exactis so that it can not be accessed publicly but it is not known how long it was configured for public access before Troia discovered it. In 2017, Equifax was involved in a massive data breach of 145.5 million people's data - Social Security numbers, names, birthdates and addresses were stolen.

News of the breach raises questions about whether Exactis knew what type of information it had and whether it considered the potential implications if that information were compromised.

On the company's website, Exactis.com, the firm describes itself as a "leading compiler and aggregator of premium business and computer data", storing "over 3.5 billion records (updated monthly)". "But we want to make sure that they adopt best practices and they ensure that no data was actually exfiltrated or taken by hackers, and that they adapt certain policies to ensure that this kind of thing doesn't happen again".

Each record potentially included more than 400 different factors, ranging from religious beliefs and what size clothing they wear, to whether they have pets or an interest in scuba diving.

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