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Dear Everyone in Ecuador, We Have Bad News

A breach has exposed your personal data
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2019 8:43 AM CDT
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Ecuador's flag.   (Getty/Oleksii Liskonih)

(Newser) – A security company has discovered a data breach that exposed the personal data of more than 20 million Ecuadoreans—which is especially impressive considering that Ecuador has a population of about 16.6 million. It seems the breach not only covers every living person in the country, but it affects the data of dead people, too, reports the company, vpnMentor. The problem involves a "misconfigured database," explains ZDNet. Security researchers from vpnMentor found the data on an unsecured cloud server located in Miami that was accessible to just about anyone, per the BBC.

Data on two indexes included government ID numbers, phone numbers, tax records, work records, marriage and family data, and at least some financial records for accounts in a large Ecuadorean bank. "The information in both indexes would be as valuable as gold in the hands of criminal gangs," writes Catalin Cimpanu at ZDNet. The server had been set up by the Ecuadorean company Novaestrat, which has not commented publicly about the mess. The breach was fixed earlier this month, and Ecuador's legislature is now working to quickly pass a personal data protection bill, per CNN. (Read more Ecuador stories.)

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