There are data breaches, and then there are data breaches. For example, who could forget the Equifax data breach, which compromised the personal information of over half of the citizens of the United States? And now, a breach of similar magnitude has emerged, as a security researcher has discovered that marketing firm Exactis’ database was sitting on a publicly accessible server. Specifically, there were two versions of the database exposed online, each with around 340 million records—roughly two-thirds on consumers and the rest on businesses.
So how did Exactis have this much data in the first place? The Florida-based marketing firm collects and trades consumer data in order to refine the accuracy of targeted ads. Which is precisely what makes this breach so crucial, as the information exposed is highly personal. The leaked data includes people’s phone numbers, home and email addresses, interests, and the number, age, and gender of their children. As of now, credit card information and Social Security numbers don’t appear to have been leaked.