Spammers expose over a billion email addresses after failed backup

TechCrunch | 3/6/2017 | John Biggs
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At its height, River City Media, run by Alvin Slocombe and Matt Ferris, sent out a billion emails a day, slamming Gmail servers with fragmented traffic in order to ensure all of its email went out on time. After failing to password-protect a remote backup, however, the company has exposed its nearly 1.4 billion email records, some of which contain real names and addresses. The company, for all intents and purposes, is sunk but the privacy implications of this trove of data are staggering.

Discovered by a security researcher for MacKeeper, Chris Vickery, the leaked data appeared as a result of a failed rsync backup – essentially a remote backup gone wrong. The data sat on an exposed server for months, allowing Vickery – and anyone else – access to chat logs, emails, and, most important, the company’s massive email list.

Vickery - Feels

Vickery feels, well, victorious.

“I found an rsync server on port 873 that they had not put any password or security of any sort on and it has led to he downfall of a criminal enterprise,” he said. “I’m hoping that they’ll be out of business soon but that would largely depend on actions by law enforcement. If you’re sitting behind bars it’s hard to spam.”


He also found the list to be quite unruly.

“I’m still struggling with the best software solution to handle such a voluminous collection, but I have looked up several people that I know and the entries are accurate,” Vickery told COSOnline. “The only saving grace is that some are outdated by a few years and the subject no longer lives at the same location.”

RCM - Spam - Techniques - Company - Tens

The multiple RCM spam techniques were extraordinary. The company would first send out tens of thousands of “warm-up emails” to their own email addresses on Gmail and other servers. Because these emails would never bounce...
(Excerpt) Read more at: TechCrunch
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