A database containing the personal details of 56.25 million U.S. residents was exposed online. The database reportedly belongs to the CheckPeople.com website.
Florida-based CheckPeople.com is a service that allows users to search for the personal information of individuals. Subscribed users can view information such as current and past addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, names of relatives and even criminal records.
A white-hat hacker operating under the handle Lynx discovered the trove online stored in a server from China, and tipped off The Register. Lynx told the news report that he found the 22GB database exposed on the internet, including metadata that links the collection to CheckPeople.com. The Register has withheld further details for privacy protection reasons.
"In and of itself, the data is harmless, it's public data, but bundled like this I think it could actually be worth a lot to some people," Lynx said. "That's what scares me, when people start combining these with other datasets."
An attorney for CheckPeople.com told The Register that CheckPeople is unaware of any database of information hosted in China or through Alibaba. "CheckPeople’s records are stored in the United States on secure servers. However, CheckPeople takes security issues very seriously and is investigating this matter," said the attorney.
The Register notes that the database has been removed from the Chinese server.