Personal details of nearly 200 million US citizens exposed

Hawaii Intelligence Digest, 20 June 2017, 19:45 hrs, UTC, Post #234.

Source:

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology/40331215

Accessed on 20 June 2017, 19:45 hrs, UTC.

Please click link to read the full story.

Comment:

Privacy is really taking a beating on the internet.  Attacks against websites, blogs, and company PR sites are increasing with no relief in sight. The latest is a massive breach that will soon impact around 200 million U.S. citizens.

According to cyber-risk analyst Chris Vickery, the latest data dump included 1.1 terabytes of personal date, political views, and contact information covering nearly 62% of the U.S. population.  Some of the data were being used by the Republican National Committee to predict trends and possible voting patterns.

Upguard Security analyst Don O’Sullivan adds that the massive security breach was unprecedented, and that “the data (were) available on a publicly accessible Amazon cloud server.”  O’Sullivan provides this analysis:

“Apart from personal details, the data also contained citizens’ suspected religious affiliations, ethnicities and political biases, such as where they stood on controversial topics like gun control, the right to abortion and stem cell research.”

“The file names and directories indicated that the data was meant to be used by influential Republican political organisations. The idea was to try to create a profile on as many voters as possible using all available data, so some of the fields in the spreadsheets were left left empty if an answer could not be found.”

“That such an enormous national database could be created and hosted online, missing even the simplest of protections against the data being publicly accessible, is troubling,” Dan O’Sullivan wrote in a blog post on Upguard’s website.”

“The ability to collect such information and store it insecurely further calls into question the responsibilities owed by private corporations and political campaigns to those citizens targeted by increasingly high-powered data analytics operations.”

And, in conclusion, Paul Fletcher, a cyber-security consultant at Alert Logic states that “leaked data can be used for nefarious purposes” and that “the potential for this type of data being made available publicly and on the dark web is extremely high.”

Opinion:

A sobering and scary analysis of what all of us face when we order something online or answer a political or social poll on the internet.  It may be a good idea to change your passwords for any online merchant you use, especially Amazon.  You may also want to remove any personal contact information from any social media accounts you use. Having been a victim of identity theft, I’ve made it a policy never to answer online polls or surveys.  I also change passwords frequently and restrict who can find me on social media.  Our digital universe is a chaotic mess, with government, businesses, and ISPs unable to provide the basic cybersecurity we all need online.  You have to assume that no one will protect your private information except yourself.  Upgrade your internet browsers, change passwords frequently, and be very careful who sees your personal information.  Be sure your websites and blogs have anti-virus, anti-malware, and anti-ransomware software installed.  Don’t open any unsolicited e-mails.  I no longer bank online–I prefer to do my financial transactions in person.  All of this is inconvenient and time consuming, but it only takes one case of identity theft to change your perception of the internet.  I speak from experience.

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Opinions expressed in this blog are mine unless otherwise stated.

Thanks for joining us today.

Until next time,

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

https://hawaiiintelligencedigest.com

https://paper.li/f-1482109921

 

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