38 Million Records Were Exposed Online — Including Contact-Tracing Info

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    More than a thousand web apps mistakenly exposed 38 million records on the open internet, including data from a number of Covid-19 contact tracing platforms, vaccination sign-ups, job application portals, and employee databases. The data included a range of sensitive information, from people’s phone numbers and home addresses to social security numbers and Covid-19 vaccination status. From a report: The incident affected major companies and organizations, including American Airlines, Ford, the transportation and logistics company J.B. Hunt, the Maryland Department of Health, the New York City Municipal Transportation Authority, and New York City public schools. And while the data exposures have since been addressed, they show how one bad configuration setting in a popular platform can have far-reaching consequences. The exposed data was all stored in Microsoft’s Power Apps portal service, a development platform that makes it easy to create web or mobile apps for external use. If you need to spin up a vaccine appointment sign-up site quickly during, say, a pandemic, Power Apps portals can generate both the public-facing site and the data management backend. Beginning in May, researchers from the security firm Upguard began investigating a large number of Power Apps portals that publicly exposed data that should have been private — including in some Power Apps that Microsoft made for its own purposes. None of the data is known to have been compromised, but the finding is significant still, as it reveals an oversight in the design of Power Apps portals that has since been fixed. In addition to managing internal databases and offering a foundation to develop apps, the Power Apps platform also provides ready-made application programming interfaces to interact with that data. But the Upguard researchers realized that when enabling these APIs, the platform defaulted to making the corresponding data publicly accessible. Enabling privacy settings was a manual process. As a result, many customers misconfigured their apps by leaving the insecure default. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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