Researchers have revealed that a massive database that houses information of over 123 million American households was discovered unsecured on the internet earlier this year. The researchers made this known earlier today.
The database was left unsecured online by marketing analytics company Alteryx, a move that exposed various personal details of millions of American households. This was according to security researchers with the UpGuard Cyber Risk Team. The research team stated that the leak had exposed consumers to a wide range of nefarious activity which includes spamming, identity theft and others.
Though the researchers didn’t expose any name, the cloud-data set comprised of 248 different data fields that contain a wide range of specific personal information, including address, age, gender, education, occupation and marital status. Some other details include mortgage and financial information, phone numbers and number of children in the household, the researchers added.
UpGuard researchers Chris Vickery and Dan O’Sullivan in their analysis of the situation wrote that “From home addresses and contact information to mortgage ownership and financial histories to very specific analysis of purchasing behavior, the exposed data constitutes a remarkably invasive glimpse into the lives of American consumers.”
This is a cause of concern after recent data breaches have left consumers anxious regarding the security of their personal information. Back in September, credit monitoring company Equifax revealed that hackers stole data from over 145 million Americans, with U.S officials now holding companies accountable to the everyday people whose data they collect for profit.
The researchers added that the database was discovered in October in a misconfigured Amazon Web Services S3 cloud storage known as a bucket. The database gave access to anyone with an account, which is also free to get.
The repository cloud storage houses massive data that belonged to Alteryx partner Experian, a firm that competes with Equifax. The report further revealed that the data was acquired by Alteryx from Experian’s ConsumerView marketing database, with Experian also selling a similar product to other companies that have publicly available information and more personal data.
When contacted, both Alteryx and Experian declined to comment.Alteryx, Experian, UpGuard
Alteryx though stated that “Specifically, this file held marketing data, including aggregated and de-identified information based on models and estimations provided by a third-party content provider, and was made available to our customers who purchased and used this data for analytic purposes. The information in the file does not pose a risk of identity theft to any consumers.”