July this year, Security Discovery researcher Bob Diachenko came across a plethora of JSON records in an exposed Elasticsearch cluster that piqued his interest.
The 1.9 million-strong recordset contained sensitive information on people, including their names, country citizenship, gender, date of birth, passport details, and no-fly status.
The exposed server was indexed by search engines Censys and ZoomEye, indicating Diachenko may not have been the only person to come across the list:
The researcher told BleepingComputer that given the nature of the exposed fields (e.g. passport details and “no_fly_indicator”) it appeared to be a no-fly or a similar terrorist watchlist.
Additionally, the researcher noticed some elusive fields such as “tag,” “nomination type,” and “selectee indicator,” that weren’t immediately understood by him.
“That was the only valid guess given the nature of data plus there was a specific field named ‘TSC_ID’,” Diachenko told BleepingComputer, which hinted to him the source of the recordset could be the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC).
If there are 2 million names on that list, isn’t the definition of ‘terrorist’ maybe a little bit broad?
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