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Tuesday, 07 March 2017 07:12

Spammers leak personal details of 1.37b online Featured


An American outfit has leaked about 1.37 billion email addresses and other personal details online after it neglected to password-protect a database back-up, resulting in the data leaking online.

It was spotted by Chris Vickery, a data breach hunter with MacKeeper, who along with CSOOnline and Spamhaus, the anti-spam group, released details of the find.

The files were leaking from an outfit known as River City Media run by Alvin Slocombe and Matt Ferris, both of whom are known spammers, Vickery wrote.

While the outfit says it is a legitimate marketing operation, Vickery said it was sending out as many as a billion emails every day.

He said this was achieved by using automation, research over many years and some illegal hacking.

Details of scripts and techniques used had been forwarded to Microsoft, Apple and other companies and law enforcement authorities notified, Vickery wrote.

He looked up the names of several people in the leaked list to verify that the details were not faked.

There were tons of military email accounts, with full names and IP addresses as well.

"The natural response is to question whether the dataset is real. That was my initial reaction," he wrote. "I’m still struggling with the best software solution to handle such a voluminous collection, but I have looked up several people that I know and the entries are accurate.

"The only saving grace is that some are outdated by a few years and the subject no longer lives at the same location."

Spamhaus has blacklisted the entire infrastructure used by RCM.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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