The data of practically the entire population of Ecuador, including detailed information, has been leaked online in an unprecedented national cybersecurity breach.
The compromised personal details include names, addresses, employment status, phone numbers, and national identity numbers.
The leak was caused by a misconfigured database and was revealed by technology news site ZDNet.
An entire population affected
Over 20 million people, including 6.7 million children, were compromised in the leak, which was discovered during a check by vpnMentor security researchers, Noam Rotem, and Ran Locar. The findings were shared with ZDNet.
As Ecuador's population is 16.5 million, the entire country's population is likely to have been affected. The extra few million in the database might be due to deceased individuals appearing in the database, Ecuador's State Attorney General's Office claims.
The exact number affected by the breach is not known at this time. The vpnMentor report says that the breach was found on an unsecured server in Miami, which appears to be owned by Ecuadorian analytics firm Novaestrat.
The damage is done
Aside from personal information like phone numbers, taxpayer numbers, and addresses, financial details were also found in the leak, including bank balances, credit type, and bank customers' account status, CNN reports.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's information was also found amongst the leaked data, the report states. Assange was granted political asylum by Ecuador and lived in the Ecuadorian embassy in London from 2012 until his asylum was revoked this year.
vpnMentor passed the information to Ecuadorian officials on September 11. Unfortunately, the damage has likely already been done.
"Once data has been exposed to the world, it can't be undone," the vpnMentor report says.
"The database is now closed, but the information may already be in the hands of malicious parties."
Individuals and companies are now likely at risk of identity theft, financial fraud, and other cybersecurity threats, the report claims.
Raids and arrests
As CNNreports, a federal police unit raided the home of Novaestrat's legal representative, William Roberto G., where they seized electronic devices and computers. The police found and detained him later in Ecuador's northwestern Esmeraldas province.
Esta tarde / noche la @PoliciaEcuador realizó el allanamiento del local señalado como domicilio de #Novaestrat que es además el domicilio de uno de sus directivos.— María Paula Romo (@mariapaularomo) September 17, 2019
Allanamiento se hizo con orden de juez en el marco de la investigación que conduce @FiscaliaEcuadorpic.twitter.com/toD79a1FDO
"He will be transferred immediately so that the Ecuador prosecutor can gather information in the framework of the investigation that is taking place," Ecuador's Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo tweeted.
"If it's confirmed that they violated the personal privacy of Ecuadorians, it is a criminal offense that must be punished," the Telecommunications Minister Andres Michelena said on Twitter.