The Slatest

Sensitive Personal and Financial Data of What’s Likely an Entire Country Leaked Online

Overhead shot of two people trying personal computers displayed for sale at a warehouse in Buenos Aires.
Be careful what button you press.
Juan Mabromata/Getty Images

A chilling data leak on an unsecured server in Miami divulged sensitive personal and financial information of what appears to be the entire population of Ecuador. The discovery came from the internet security firm VpnMentor, which discovered the database containing more than 20 million individuals’ data—including as many as 7 million minors—on an exposed Florida-based server belonging to the Ecuadorian data and analytics company Novaestrat. Ironically, the personal data of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who had been given asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, was included in the leak.

The internet security firm said that the disclosed information included addresses, phone numbers, places and dates of birth, marital statuses, family members, and levels of education. As far as employment and financial information, the compromised data contained bank account balances, personal credit and financing info, and employer information, including job title and salary. “On Monday, prosecutors and a federal police force raided the home of Novaestrat’s legal representative, William Roberto G., seizing electronic equipment and computers,” CNN reports. “Later that evening, the police found and detained him in Ecuador’s northwestern Esmeraldas province.”

The Ecuadorian government said the breach was quickly closed on Sept. 11, but the implications remain severe for those affected. “Once data has been exposed to the world, it can’t be undone,” warned the VpnMentor report. “The database is now closed, but the information may already be in the hands of malicious parties.”