RealNews

Slip-up exposes database to prying eyes

A developer mistake left a sensitive database with detailed personal information, including Social Security numbers, open to public Internet access for a few hours on Tuesday. The database–frequently used by law enforcement, credit agencies and private investigators–was accessible through a simple search form on the Web and contained millions of names, social security numbers, phone records and public records such as residential histories, confirmed LocatePlus.com, which provides the database service. “It was a pretty small breach of information,” said Jon Latorella, CEO of the investigative services company. “It was only our bottom tier of information, or one up from the bottom.” LocatePlus shut down public access to the database around 10 a.m. PST. Latorella said that perhaps several hundred queries were made of the database and that 95 percent of those were apparently from security researchers who detected the breach. While the company was working on an application to make the database information available on wireless devices, a developer opened up access for a limited range of Internet addresses to test the mobile service, Latorella said. The change resulted in the database being opened up to public access. Full Story

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