Bob Diachenko reports:
On April 18th, during our regular security audit of nonSql databases with BinaryEdge search engine, I have discovered an open and publicly available MongoDB instance which contained astonishingly sensitive information on Iranian drivers.
Information was structured to include the following data fields:
- Driver first name and last name
- SSN (10-digits Iranian ID number in plain text)
- Phone Number
- Invoice date
Reading Bob’s post may provide the general public with some sense of how some researchers find leaks and then follow up on their discoveries. Look at what Bob — who is not paid to do this — had to do to try to make notification in this case:
I have immediately sent an alert to the Iranian CERT and also initiated own investigation with the assistance of dedicated security researchers on the ground. We were able to get in touch with a couple of drivers with an attempt to identify the owner of the database. At the same time, my colleagues have reached out to the biggest ride-hailing companies in Iran to confirm data origin.
What Bob describes is certainly not unique to Iranian entities — we have experienced the same frustrations and problems in other countries as well — including right here in the U.S. when it is not always obvious who owns an exposed database.
Does the Iranian ride-hailing public realize that they owe Bob a thank you? Almost certainly not. But Bob did a good thing. And every day, countless researchers perform such yeoman service even though they are often harassed, threatened, or falsely accused of hacking.
Read more on SecurityDiscovery.