A security researcher has recently discovered an unsecured Google cloud server with personal information of over 1.5 billion people. This massive 4 terabyte data cache contains people’s social media accounts, phone numbers, email addresses, and more.
The enormous trove of data was completely unprotected and was discovered by security researchers Vinny Troia and Bob Diachenko when they were scanning for vulnerabilities. Once the issue was reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the mountain of data vanished within hours. With very little known about the sever’s owner, no legal action was taken against it.
Most of the data was reportedly collected by a company named People Data Labs, a firm that provides customers easy access to social media accounts and work emails for decision-making purposes. However, the unprotected server didn’t belong to People Data Labs but was one of Google’s cloud servers. Google refused to comment about who was renting this mysterious server.
Vinny Troia commented on the matter saying:
This is the first time ever that I’ve seen emails, names and numbers linked with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Github profiles all in one spot. There are no passwords related to this data, but having a new, fresh set of passwords isn’t that exciting anymore. Having all of this social media stuff in one place is a useful weapon and investigative tool.
As of yet, the real culprit behind this is still out in the wild. One thing is clear, the data privacy laws are still far behind modern technology with no one willing to take responsibility for the heaps of data just floating around unprotected.