120 million households exposed in massive database leak

Information on more than 120 million American households was sitting in a massive database found left exposed on the web earlier this month, Forbes has been told. It included an extraordinary range of personal details on residents, including addresses, ethnicity, interests and hobbies, income, right down to what kind of mortgage the house was under and how many children lived at the property. In total, there were 248 different data fields for each household, according to the researcher who uncovered the leak data this week.

While there were no names exposed, Chris Vickery, a cybersecurity researcher from UpGuard, told Forbes it was simple to determine who the data was linked to, either by looking at the details or by crosschecking with previous leaks. He found the data was sitting in an Amazon Web Services storage “bucket,” left open to anyone with an account, which are free to obtain.

As long as they knew the right URL to visit, an Amazon Web Services user could retrieve all the data, which was left online by marketing analytics company Alteryx. It was apparent that the firm had purchased the information from Experian, as part of a dataset called ConsumerView, on top of which Alteryx provides marketing and analytics services.