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Ecuador Investigates Data Breach of Up to 20 Million People

President Lenín Moreno of Ecuador on Monday promised to fast-track a data protection law.

Names, social security numbers and contact information were among the elements contained in the exposed files, according to a report published on Monday by vpnMentor. One of the most worrying aspects of the episode, the report said, was that the data included information about people’s family members.

Other sections of the database contained employment information, including job titles and salaries, and bank details, such as account numbers and current balances.

The data appeared to come from Ecuadorean government registries, an automobile association and a state-owned bank, according to vpnMentor. It was discovered on an unsecured server in Miami. The breach was closed on Sept. 11, the company’s report said.

Among the data, vpnMentor said, was an entry, including the national identification number, for Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, who lived in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London from 2012 until this year.

This is not the first major data security breach in the country. In 2016, hackers stole $ 12 million from Ecuador’s Banco del Austro by breaching its Swift payment system.

Both the scale and source of the current breach recalled the theft in July of the personal information of as many as five million Bulgarians, nearly the country’s entire adult population, from the national tax agency. That breach highlighted the vulnerability of data held by national institutions and the danger of hackers’ taking advantage of weak security.

A self-proclaimed hacker, who called Bulgaria’s cybersecurity “a parody,” claimed responsibility. The authorities arrested two workers and the owner of a cybersecurity firm, Tad Group, shortly after reports of the breach came out. The workers were charged with terrorism, while investigations into the owner’s possible involvement continued.

Source: NYT > World News

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