You’ve probably never heard of them, but chances are good they know plenty about you ― including things like your home address, your phone number, your sports interests and whether you’re a “dog enthusiast.”“They” are an online marketing and analytics firm by the name of Alteryx, and according to a report Tuesday by the cyber risk company UpGuard, they left a database containing sensitive information on 123 million American households unsecured and open to the public.
Chris Vickery, UpGuard’s cyber risk research director, told HuffPost Tuesday he stumbled across the 36-gigabyte database during a routine search of Amazon Web Services’ storage “buckets,” which house data for various companies of all sizes. Anyone with a basic understanding of what keywords to look for and how to sift through vast amounts of data could have done the same, Vickery said.
“I’m not the only person doing this,” he said. “I’m certain there are bad guys doing it as well as good guys.”
As for the data itself: The file contains 123 million rows of data, one for just about every single household in the U.S. at the time of its likely creation in 2013. And each of those households is individually described via 248 specific categories.
In addition to the data listed above (address, phone number, whether you’re a dog or cat person, etc.), other categories include the number of children living in the house, and their age ranges and gender; what types of magazines you subscribe to; your mortgage amount; how old your car is; which causes you donate to; your ethnicity; and plenty more.