The personal data of a large chunk of the American population has recently been exposed. this is thanks to Alteryx leaving it on a public storage site.
The data breach is big. Very big. To put this into perspective, the infamous Sony Network data leak was merely exposed 70-77 million accounts. That data leak lead to very public apologies at the very top and saw multi-level government involvement.
This data leak, on the other hand, is 62% larger then that. The file was found on an open cloud server unencrypted. According to Naked Security, the file weighed in at 32GB in size. Anyone who has the space and opportunity to snatch it off of the Amazon Simple Storage Service bucket service would have managed to obtain some hugely valuable information indeed.
While names were excluded from the data, there were numerous other pieces of data that could easily help any unscrupulous individual to narrow the information down significantly. Naked Security cited Upguard which describes it as follows:
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. While, in the words of Experian, “protecting consumers is our top priority,” the accumulation of this data in “compliance with legal guidelines,” only to then see it left downloadable on the public internet, exposes affected consumers to large-scale misuse of their information – whether through spamming and unwanted direct marketing, organized fraud techniques like “phantom debt collection,” or through the use of personal details for identity theft and security verification.
Perhaps the most frightening fact is that this data leak isn’t even the largest 2017 even saw. Earlier this year, Equifax saw its own data breached, exposing 143 million Americans to identity theft.
Still, it’s stunning to see another data breach of this scale this year. Most are outraged about the Equifax breach. How are American’s going to react when they find out this has happened yet again?