Major security breach in Ecuador: Data of 17 million citizens, including president, Julian Assange, leaked from US server

Data on an estimated 20 million people of Ecuador, including almost seven million minors as well as deceased citizens, was exposed in a major security breach, officials and security experts said

Agence France-Presse September 17, 2019 17:36:39 IST
Major security breach in Ecuador: Data of 17 million citizens, including president, Julian Assange, leaked from US server
  • Almost the entire population of Ecuador had their personal data leaked online in a major security breach

  • Data on an estimated 20 million people, including almost seven million minors as well as deceased citizens, was exposed

  • Ecuadoran authorities said the data was allegedly from a server based in the United States

Quito: Almost the entire population of Ecuador had their personal data leaked online in a major security breach, officials and security experts said.

Data on an estimated 20 million people, including almost seven million minors as well as deceased citizens, was exposed by the breach, the state attorney general's office said on Monday.

Major security breach in Ecuador Data of 17 million citizens including president Julian Assange leaked from US server

Representational image. Reuters

The data was hosted on an unsecured server run by an Ecuadoran marketing and analytics firm. "The information that I can share with you at this moment is that this is a very delicate issue, it is a major concern for the whole of the government and the state," said Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo.

The South American nation has a population of 17 million, according to the UN Population Fund. Ecuadoran authorities said the data was allegedly from a server based in the United States.

The security company vpnMentor uncovered the breach on the server run by the firm Novaestrat, which included citizens' full names, dates and places of birth, education levels, phone numbers and national identity card numbers.

ZDNet, the cyber security website that first reported the breach, said there was even data on the country's president and on Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who applied for asylum in Ecuador and spent years holed up in the country's London embassy before being arrested this year by British police.

As part of his application for asylum, Assange was issued an Ecuadoran identity card. The security company contacted Ecuador's Computer Emergency Response Team to secure the leaked data, ZDNet said.

Romo said the government was "working on an investigation which will permit us in the coming hours to assess who is responsible for what happened". "I hope, too, that in the hours to come, the telecommunications ministry will be able to assess more thoroughly technical information about data protection," he added.

Authorities in Ecuador said they had raided Novaestrat's office to collect evidence, including computers and electronic equipment.

The ministry of telecommunications, meanwhile, said it would send a bill on personal data protection to the National Assembly as part of the government's efforts to prevent such leaks.

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

World Post Day 2020: Signifance, contribution of postal service, especially during COVID-19 pandemic
India

World Post Day 2020: Signifance, contribution of postal service, especially during COVID-19 pandemic

From distribution of testing kits to delivery of medicines, postal employees in India have emerged as COVID-19 warriors continuing to work in the face of adverse conditions

'Communist' Kamala Harris to take over as president in a month if Joe Biden wins, says Donald Trump
World

'Communist' Kamala Harris to take over as president in a month if Joe Biden wins, says Donald Trump

The US president attacked the Democratic vice-presidential nominee calling her a 'monster' and alleged she wants 'murderers and rapists to pour into our country'

WHO chief warns against pursuing herd immunity against COVID-19, calls strategy 'simply unethical'
science

WHO chief warns against pursuing herd immunity against COVID-19, calls strategy 'simply unethical'

At a media briefing on Monday, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said health officials typically aim to achieve herd immunity by vaccination