Nearly All Adult Americans’ Personal Data Exposed by a Data Mining Firm

Exactis exposed 340 million personal records to the internet

Exactis did not return a request for comment.

A database controlled by a Florida-based marketing and data aggregation company may have been compromised, exposing individual records on almost 340 million people and businesses.

"It seems like this is a database with pretty much every U.S. citizen in it", Troia, founder of the New York-based security firm Night Lion Security, told Wired.

It also exposed more than 400 personal characteristics, including interests, habits, if the person owns a dog or cat, and the age and gender of the person's children.

The server has since been secured, but this is another worrying tale of a company hoarding personal data with a lack of regard for security and privacy. "The problem with most enterprises today", said Ruchika Mishra, Balbix director of products and solutions, "is that they don't have the foresight and visibility into the hundreds of attack vectors - be it misconfigurations, employees at risk of being phished, admin using credentials across personal and business accounts - that could be exploited". And according to Troia, Exactis pulled the database off the open internet when he contacted the company about the leak.

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After Troia contacted Exactis and the Federal Bureau of Investigation about this massive data breach, the company protected the database and it's no longer accessible. With financial information apparently not being part of the leak, outright financial fraud may not be a major concern, but the sheer amount of data could allow an ill-intentioned third-party to impersonate the people on the database in other ways. It appears that social security numbers were not included in the data-although given everything else the data contained, that's not much of a consolation. But Exactis is merely one of several data-mining firms that excel at collecting people's personal data for marketing purposes. However, it remains unclear if any hackers or criminals managed to get access to it during the time it was exposed. Troia discovered the database using the Shodan search tool while testing the security of ElasticSearch databases. Considering the current population of the U.S. is said to be around 325 million, chances are high that your information was on its servers.

Data breaches have become more and more common in the news lately. "This is more information that other people can use to create scams or do fraudulent activities".

Hackers have been handed an easy win, thanks to a little known marketing firm that collected data on millions of Americans and leaked it online.

Because Exactis hasn't confirmed the leak, and the data is reportedly no longer accessible, it's hard to know exactly how many people are affected.

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