Last month, a database of 1.2 billion users’ personal information, including social media accounts, email addresses and phone numbers, was found to exist unprotected on a server. So far it is not clear why the database appeared on this server.
Vinny Troia, chief executive of St. Louis-based Knight Lion Security, says most of the data in the database is collected by a company called People Data Labs. The People’s Data Lab claims to be able to provide job email and social media account details for up to 1.5 billion people. According to the company’s website, data is available from a variety of sources, and users who buy it can gain access to “more than 70 per cent of decision makers in the US, UK and Canada”.
Troia says unprotected data is not stored on a server in the People’s Data Lab, but appears on a Google Cloud server. Google did not respond to questions about who was renting the server.
Sean Thorne, co-founder and chief executive of People Data Labs, says only part of the data comes from his company, and he suspects it was collected by another company.
Troia discovered the database in October during a routine scan of unprotected data and reported the 4 TERAB database and its location to the FBI. The server has since been shut down, he said.