The Consequences of a Simple Google Drive Mistake
Imagine this: a Japanese game developer, Ateam, accidentally exposes sensitive information for nearly one million people over a period of six years and eight months. How did this happen? It all started with a simple Google Drive configuration mistake.
Ateam is a mobile games and content creator, known for popular games like War of Legions, Dark Summoner, and Hatsune Miku – Tap Wonder. However, their reputation took a hit when they recently discovered that they had incorrectly set a Google Drive cloud storage instance to “Anyone on the internet with the link can view” since March 2017.
This misconfiguration led to the exposure of personal information on Ateam customers, business partners, employees, interns, and even job applicants. The data exposed included full names, email addresses, phone numbers, customer management numbers, and terminal identification numbers.
While Ateam has not found evidence of the exposed information being stolen, they urge individuals to stay vigilant for unsolicited and suspicious communications.
Lessons Learned: Secure Your Cloud Services
This incident serves as a reminder of the importance of properly securing cloud services to prevent data exposure. Setting Google Drive to “Anyone with the link can view” is suitable for non-sensitive data collaboration among trusted individuals. However, if mistakenly exposed publicly, it can become accessible to anyone through search engine indexing.
Threat actors and researchers often find exposed cloud services and download the data contained within them. While responsible researchers disclose the exposed data, malicious actors could use it to extort companies or facilitate further attacks.
For example, in 2017, security researcher Chris Vickery discovered misconfigured Amazon S3 buckets exposing billions of social and forum posts worldwide. Another misconfigured S3 bucket exposed what appeared to be classified information from INSCOM. These incidents highlight the risks of misconfigured cloud services and the potential consequences of data leakage.
Recognizing the severity of this issue, researchers have developed tools to scan for exposed Amazon S3 buckets. Additionally, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has released guidance on properly securing cloud services.
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Stay Safe Online: Protect Yourself on the Internet
In today’s digital landscape, cybersecurity is more important than ever. As you navigate the complexities of IT and compliance, it’s crucial to stay informed and take proactive measures to protect yourself and your organization.
- Regularly update your software: Keeping your software and systems up to date helps protect against known vulnerabilities.
- Use strong, unique passwords: Create strong passwords and use a password manager to securely store them.
- Enable multi-factor authentication: Adding an extra layer of security with multi-factor authentication can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access to your accounts.
- Be cautious of phishing attempts: Watch out for suspicious emails, links, and attachments. When in doubt, verify the source before clicking or providing any sensitive information.
By adopting these practices and staying informed about cybersecurity best practices, you can better protect yourself and your organization from potential threats.
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