Home Security Personal data of a million found exposed on Web

Data relating to a number of subsidiaries of Blue Chair, a holding company in Kansas City, has been found exposed on the Web by the security firm UpGuard.

Included was data from a lead generation company, Target Direct Marketing, that revealed personally identifiable information for more than a million people seeking further information about higher education.

Personal details of these individuals, including their names, email addresses, phone numbers, and, in some cases, information such as the person’s high school graduation year and area of study were exposed.

UpGuard also found what appeared to be back-ups of server configurations for a large network of feeder websites designed to attract consumers to the for-profit education application process.

The data was found by UpGuard's director of Cyber Risk Research Chris Vickery who notified the firm Gragg Advertising on 26 February that he had discovered a data leak referencing the company.

UpGuard said an exposed rsync utility was found to be publicly accessible through port 873. Rsync is used to remotely back-up data and allows for easy copying of data from one machine to another.

It quoted Gregory Gragg, the chief executive of Blue Chair as saying the leak originated from Target Direct Marketing, which is listed as a Blue Chair subsidiary and that the data consisted of “old leads".

In the past, UpGuard has found data from an insurance firm exposed in an unsecured NAS device. It has also found misconfigured Amazon Web Services S3 buckets leaking data from Paris-based brand marketing company Octoly, California data analytics firm Alteryx, credit repair service National Credit Federation, the NSA, the Pentagon, global corporate consulting and management firm Accenture, publisher Dow Jones, a Chicago voter database, a North Carolina security firm, and a contractor for the US National Republican Committee.

But late in February, UpGuard had to rework a report on what it claimed was a cloud-based data storage repository, that was used by business analytics software provider Birst and left unsecured.

It said as a result, data about financial services firm Capital One had been exposed.

But Capital One contested these claims, as did Birst. UpGuard then took down its original post, while it discussed the matter with Capital One. An updated version of its post was issued in March.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

 

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