Millions of Americans caught up in massive SMS data leak

  • Millions of Americans caught up in massive SMS data leak

Millions of Americans caught up in massive SMS data leak

The team found "tens of millions" of private text messages exposed, millions of account usernames and passwords, and other data, the two said in a statement on vpnMentor's website.

Businesses and educational institutions around the world that use the TrueDialog SMS bulk texting service are scrambling to assess the potential damage to their communications after news that security researchers discovered a huge database of unprotected messages from the Texas-based provider.

TrueDialog provides SMS solutions to businesses and higher education institutions by allowing such organizations to not only communicate with their customers via SMS, but also allowing those customers to text the business back directly.

According to the researchers, TrueDialog works with over 990 cell phone operators and reaches more than 5 billion subscribers around the world.

The exposed messages aren't going to include private conversations, but they still pose a risk.

Earlier, the two researchers found an unsecured database owned by an Ecuadorian consulting company left over 20 million records on the South American country's citizens exposed to the internet.

The personal information contained in the text messages could be an asset to scammers; it could also be used in blackmail schemes and lead to identity theft and fraud.

"The goal of this web mapping project is to help make the internet safer for all users". The database contained information about university finance applications, marketing messages from businesses with discount codes, and job alerts, among other things. With this link, unauthorized access would allow a diverse dataset to be vulnerable. TrueDialog, an SMS provider that enables US companies, colleges and universities to send bulk text messages, declined to comment to Information Security Media Group about the issue.

The offending server stored years of customer sending and receiving text messages and storing them via TrueDialog.

"The impact of this data leak can have a lasting impression for hundreds of millions of users. The available information can be sold to both marketers and spammers", the researchers said.