A mostly unknown marketing firm recently left a database of personal records exposed — and it’s possible that every American adult was included in the leaked data set.
About 340 million personal records were found in the exposed database, according to a report from Wired. The firm responsible for the data is Exactis, a Florida-based data broker.
The data found on a “publicly accessible” server holds appears to include info on “hundreds of millions of American adults, as well as millions of businesses.” It doesn’t appear that the database included any financial information or social security numbers. But information such as phone numbers, home addresses, and email addresses were in the data set, as well as “highly personal characteristics,” including personal interests and information on a person’s children — for instance, how many kids they have, and how old they are.
These personal characteristics apparently go deep. Though some information is outdated, Wired claims the database contains details on “more than 400 variables on a vast range of specific characteristics: whether the person smokes, their religion, whether they have dogs or cats, and interests as varied as scuba diving and plus-size apparel.”
The database was discovered by security researcher Vinny Troia, who told Wired: “It seems like this is a database with pretty much every US citizen in it.” He claims the database was easy to find, but after contacting Exactis and the FBI last week, “he says the company has since protected the data so that it’s no longer accessible.”
Genie Out Of The Bottle
Though the data seems to be secure now, there’s no telling how many people — if any — got access to the database. A virtually unknown company possibly exposing the data of every American adult does not bode well for personal data security in general, needless to say.