Home Business IT Data Thomson Reuters' terrorism blacklist leaked online

Thomson Reuters' terrorism blacklist leaked online

A security researcher who has a track record of finding leaked databases online says he recently found a 2014 version of the World-Check database that contains the names of 2.2 million heightened-risk individuals and organisations.

Chris Vickery reported the finding on Reddit and said he had not indulged in any hacking to obtain the leaked data.

The World-Check database is owned by Thomson Reuters which bought it, as part of a company it purchased for US$530 million a few years ago.

Vickery contacted Thomson Reuters and says the company is now working to get the database secured.

There has been no official statement issued by Thomson Reuters about the breach which may have been by a subscriber or else an outside agent.

Vickery asked Reddit users whether he should release the data to the world.

According to Vice News, which broke the story, Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and the organisation itself are listed as terrorists.

British Liberal Democrat politician Maajid Nawaz, who runs a counter-extremism think tank Quilliam, also figures in the terrorism category.

Former World Bank and Bank of England advisor Mohamed Iqbal Asaria is a third prominent individual to figure among those associated with terrorism.

iTWIre contacted Thomson Reuters for its reaction. The company responded: "Thomson Reuters was yesterday alerted to out-of-date information from the World-Check database that had been exposed by a third party.

"We are grateful to Chris Vickery for bringing this to our attention, and immediately took steps to contact the third party responsible - as a result we can confirm that the third party has taken down the information.

"We have also spoken to the third party to ensure there will be no repetition of this unacceptable incident."

On its website Thomson Reuters describes the World-Check database as "the gold standard in PEP (politically exposed people) monitoring, AML (anti-money laundering) screening and financial crime control. Through its extensive negative media research it acts as an early warning system for hidden risk".

It says further that "25% of World-Check data is derived from information on sanctions, watch or regulatory and law enforcement lists. The remaining 75% consists of PEP information as well as individuals and entities not found on official lists, but who instead are reported to be connected to sanctioned parties, or reported to have been investigated for, or convicted of engaging in, financial crime related activities."


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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.