A security researcher recently discovered an unsecured online database that contained the personal information of 1.2 billion users, including their social media accounts, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers.
Much of the data in the database was collected by a company According to Night Lion Security CEO Vinny Troia, who first discovered it last month, People Data Labs.
People Data Labs provides its customers with easy access to corporate e-mail and social media account information from more than 70 percent of decision makers in the US, UK, and Canada. The company scratches this data online from various sources and states on its website that People Data Labs can even provide this data directly to its customers by saying:
"A record of CV, contacts, social and demographic data Information for over 1
The unprotected data was found on a Google Cloud server Originally sourced from People Data Labs, one of the company's customers was responsible for keeping it unsecured.
Sean Thorne, co-founder and CEO of the company, explained that some of the exposed data came from him, although he suspected that they were aggregated by another company that merged different data points.
Vinny Troia ran an online routine scan for unprotected data when he discovered the four terabyte database, whereupon he notified the FBI. Troia said the information in this latest data dump could easily be used by cybercriminals:
"It's the first time I've seen emails, names and numbers associated with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – and Github profiles are all linked in one place. There are no passwords for this data, but it's not so exciting to have new passwords. Having all these social media in one place is a useful weapon and a tool of investigation.