Third party vulnerability leads to huge mortgage data breach1 min read


Banking documents, representing tens of thousands of loans and mortgages from some of the biggest banks in the US, have been found online, following a lapse in server security.

The server, which was apparently running an Elasticsearch database, had more than a decade’s worth of data, containing loan and mortgage agreements, repayment schedules and other highly sensitive financial and tax documents. Despite this, it wasn’t protected with a password, allowing anyone to access and read the massive cache of documents.

Although it’s believed that the database was only exposed for two weeks, this was long enough for an independent security researcher to find the data. At first it was unclear who actually owned the data. Following enquiries with several major US banks and savings and loans providers, whose customers’ information was found on the server, the database was shut down on January 15.

First reported by trade publication TechCrunch, the breach involved loans originated by several companies including Wells Fargo, a division of Citigroup, Capital One, HSBC Life Insurance and others. The loans were acquired by investment management firm Rocktop Partners LLC, based in Arlington, Texas. Rocktop’s affiliate, Ascension Data & Analytics, hired a New York-based company, OpticsML, which allegedly made a “server configuration error” that led to the exposure of the documents. The leak was eventually traced back to Ascension, a data and analytics company for the financial industry, based in Fort Worth, Texas.

For more details, take a look at this TechCrunch article.

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