Exposing Indian Job Seekers Data

10925435275?profile=RESIZE_400xAn Elasticsearch server belonging to a major international IT recruitment and software solution provider is currently exposing the personal data of more than half a million Indian candidates looking for jobs.  However, the data is not limited to jobseeker as the server is also exposing the company’s employees’ data.  Another important aspect of this data exposure is the fact that it also contains the company’s client records from different companies, including Apple and Samsung.

This was confirmed by a prominent independent security researcher.  What is worse, the server is still exposed and publicly accessible without any security authentication or password.  Originally, the server was being exposed since late December 2022.[1]

It all started when Anurag scanned for misconfigured databases on Shodan and noted a server exposing more than 6GB worth of data to public access.  Anurag said that the server belongs to a company originally based in the United States with offices around the globe including India.  While the database contains details of job seekers in India.  Hackread.com, who uncovered this breach, will not share the name of the company because the server is still exposed.

Exposed Data:  Anurag’s analysis of the server revealed that the exposed records contain personal data of over 575,000 individuals, while the size of the data is over 6.3GB and increasing with new data with each day passing.  This data includes the following:

  • Full Name
  • Date of birth
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Resume details
  • Employer details

The screenshot below shows the candidate details and client data that are currently being exposed:

10925435654?profile=RESIZE_584xImage credit: Hackread.com

The screenshot below was taken from the live server that shows the company’s client details.  Some of these are top companies Apple, Samsung, Sandisk, Unilog, Moody, Intuit, NEC Corporation, Falabella and many more.

The company’s client list also indicates that its a high-profile business with a presence all over the globe.

10925435852?profile=RESIZE_584xScreenshot credit: Hackread.com

Indian CERT Alerted:  Since the server is still live at the time of writing; Anurag alerted the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team over the weekend.  However, there has been no response from the authorities yet.

India and server misconfiguration: India is home to almost 1.4 billion people. This makes the country a lucrative target for businesses as well as cybercriminals.  The more the investment, the more widespread and vulnerable the IT infrastructure becomes.  Last year, several top data exposure-related incidents involving tens of millions of victims were reported from India.  These included Indian Federal Police and banking records, Covid antigen test results, MyEasyDocs, online packaging marketplace Bizongo, etc.

Impact:  It is yet unclear whether a third party accessed the database with malicious intent, such as ransomware gangs or threat actors. However, if it did, it would be devastating for the victim and the healthcare firm responsible for the server.  Furthermore, considering the extent and nature of the exposed data, the incident can have far-reaching implications, such as bad actors downloading the data, carrying out phishing scams, or identity theft-related fraud.

Hackers can hold the company’s server or data for ransom and leak it on cybercrime forums if their demands are not met. Nevertheless, the victims in this situation are the job hunters who trusted authorities with their personal information.

Misconfigured Databases – Threat to Privacy:  Misconfigured or unsecured databases, as we know it, have become a major privacy threat to companies and unsuspected users.  In 2020, researchers identified over 10,000 unsecured databases that exposed more than ten billion (10,463,315,645) records to public access without any security authentication. 

In 2021, the number increased to 399,200 exposed databases.  The top 10 countries with top database leaks due to misconfiguration in 2021 included the following:

  • USA    -         – 93,685 databases
  • China -         – 54,764 databases
  • Germany -    – 11,177 databases
  • France -       – 9,723 databases
  • India -          – 6,545 databases
  • Singapore     – 5,882 databases
  • Hong Kong   – 5,563 databases
  • Russia -        – 5,493 databases
  • Japan  -        – 4,427 databases
  • Italy -           – 4,242 databases

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[1] https://www.hackread.com/erp-firm-expose-india-job-seekers-data/

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