A database containing the personal details of 56.25m US residents – from names and home addresses to phone numbers and ages – has been found on the public internet, served from a computer with a Chinese IP address, bizarrely enough.
The information silo appears to belong to Florida-based CheckPeople.com, which is a typical people-finder website: for a fee, you can enter someone’s name, and it will look up their current and past addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, names of relatives, and even criminal records in some cases, all presumably gathered from public records.
However, all of this information is not only sitting in one place for spammers, miscreants, and other netizens to download in bulk, but it’s being served from an IP address associated with Alibaba’s web hosting wing in Hangzhou, east China, for reasons unknown. It’s a perfect illustration that not only is this sort of personal information in circulation, but it’s also in the hands of foreign adversaries.
It just goes to show how haphazardly people’s privacy is treated these days.
A white-hat hacker operating under the handle Lynx discovered the trove online, and tipped off The Register. He told us he found the 22GB database exposed on the internet, including metadata that links the collection to CheckPeople.com. We have withheld further details of the security blunder for privacy protection reasons.
The repository’s contents are likely scraped from public records, though together provide rather detailed profiles on tens of millions of folks in America. Basically, CheckPeople.com has done the hard work of aggregating public personal records, and this exposed NoSQL database makes that info even easier to crawl and process.