A massive dump of 1.4 billion email addresses spilled online, leaked from a spam operation that used bad backups and exposed its repository. Cyber World Internet Services, which is believed to have launched spam campaigns using aliases such as Ad Media Plus, RCM Delivery, eBox, Brand 4 Marketing and Site Traffic Network.
MacKeeper researcher Chris Vickery, who has made a name for himself after finding misconfigured databases exposing large amounts of potentially sensitive data, discovered a freely accessible Rsync backup belonging to River City Media. The leaked data has been analyzed by Vickery, Spamhaus, and IDG’s CSO Online. Law enforcement has also been alerted as some of the exposed files appear to contain evidence of illegal activities. Tech giants such as Microsoft and Apple have also been notified.
Since the leaked data was accessible to anyone because the remote backup attempt failed, basically anyone could access the company's emails and chat logs, as well as the comprehensive email list.
According to Vickery, the leaked data includes documents (e.g. financial data), backups and chat logs. One of the most interesting files is a database containing 1.37 billion user records, including names, email addresses, physical addresses and IPs. The expert, whose investigation showed that much of the data appears to be valid, believes the vast amount of information was collected by the spammers through credit checks, sweepstakes, education opportunities and other similar activities.
The exposed data, which Vickery believes will lead to the downfall of this ‘spam empire,’ also includes information on the illegal tools and techniques used by RCM. For example, one of the leaked files describes a technique leveraged by the spammers to target Gmail servers by opening as many connections as possible between them and the targeted server.