Hacker Leaks Records in Protest

Tuesday, June 7, 2016 @ 04:06 PM gHale


A 24-year-old Romanian hacker leaked a collection of database dumps he obtained from 110 misconfigured MongoDB servers.

The hacker that goes by the name GhostShell said there are around 36 million user records included in the leaks, among which 3.6 million also contain passwords, according to a published report.

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The hacker also revealed the data leak on Twitter and posted a link to a PasteBin URL where users can find a statement regarding the reasons behind the hack, screenshots from all the hacked servers, and various links from where users can download the data.

The download package is a 598 MB ZIP file, which decompresses to 5.6 GB of data, containing 110 folders named based on the hacked server’s IP.

Each of these folders contains a screenshot as proof of the hacker’s access to the server, a text file with details about the hacked server, and the entire database dump.

Based on the nature of each company, these databases hold information such as real names, usernames, email addresses, passwords, gender, geolocation info, social media information, details about the user’s smartphone model, browser information, API credentials, and even avatar images.

GhostShell said in his statement he only used simple scanners like Shodan to discover these databases. The hacker describes Project Vori Dazel, as he names his MongoDB hacking spree, as a public protest against poor security practices.

GhostShell said all the databases he accessed had no username or password for the root account and had a large number of open ports.

The hacker said he hopes companies take a smarter approach to server security.

He also said if he had wanted, he could have pilfered more data because there were several other servers still open to external connections online.

GhostShell’s message is consistent with his previous campaign, called Light Hacktivism, during which the hacker set out to find and expose vulnerabilities and poor security practices in order to have them corrected. Previously, the hacker also embarked on a more aggressive campaign called Dark Hacktivism.

This time around, the hacker has a problem with companies that deploy MongoDB without properly securing them.

Here is an excerpt from GhostShell’s statement:

“I am leaking more than 36 million accounts/records of internal data from these types of networks to raise awareness about what happens when you decide not to even add a username/password as root or check for open ports, let alone encrypt the data. Each server folder has within it a plaintext file with the general info of the target, a screenshot from within my MongoDB client with me having access and of course the leaked data in raw text. There are a few million accounts with passwords and the rest is private person data or other types.

“This should serve as a cruel reminder of what happens when you don’t use proper security hygiene. And don’t worry if you thought this is the only vulnerability out there, guess again. The old ones remain as well.”