Sci-tech

How did the data of 14m Verizon customers end up online?

How did the data of 14m Verizon customers end up online?

O'Sullivan says the Verizon case highlights how many third-parties have access to our personal data. According to Vickery, up to 14 million clients are still at risk of having their data compromised, ZDNet reports. The data was part of a demo system for that project.

UpGuard, the company that discovered the problem, said that exposed text files were from calls made between January 1 and June 22 of this year.

Data belonging to at least 6 million Verizon subscribers were leaked online due to an unprotected Amazon Web Services server. These log files were recordings of customer calls to Verizon customer service and were apparently from various regions in the U.S., including Florida and Sacramento. The data includes names, phone numbers, and account PIN codes for the customers.

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According to UpGuard's report on the matter, the Verizon data was stored by NICE Systems, a company that provides technology to run call centers efficiently but also has a "history of supplying technology for use in intrusive, state-sponsored surveillance". And, while you're at it, ask Verizon to do a little more about security. The situation was traced back to NICE Systems, a company based in Israel that Verizon had collaborated with for customer service calls. UpGuard, which discovered the Verizon data leaks is the same company which found out that the voter data had been leaked in June.

Lieu, a Verizon customer, is concerned about possible misuse of the data. Verizon confirmed that information was at risk of being comprised, and said human error was the reason for the potential leak. These details could allow malicious individuals to not only hijack smartphones, they could even be used to steal identities and drain bank accounts.

A limited amount of personal information, such as some phone numbers and PINs, were included in the data, but it didn't include Social Security numbers or voice recordings, Verizon said. "Possession of these account PIN codes could allow scammers to successfully pose as customers in calls to Verizon, enabling them to gain access to accounts-an especially threatening prospect, given the increasing reliance upon mobile communications for purposes of two-factor authentication". Hopefully nothing bad comes from this data exposure, but it sure would be nice if we could stop worrying these things after a leak or breach has already taken place.


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