Researchers have found out approximately 1.5 billion files of sensitive nature such as medical scans, payment bills, and patent applications remain exposed on the open internet.
At a cybersecurity firm Digital Shadows (Source: Phys.org), researchers used a scanning tool for three months which revealed huge amounts of private data amassed from people and companies across the globe.
Reports show that 700,000 payroll slips, 60,000 tax return files, and over 2.2 million medical files remain in the open along with corporate information such as designs, patent summaries of unreleased products, etc.
The estimated size of the unprotected data is around 12 petabytes and are “freely available” to anyone who has elementary technical knowledge.
“The availability of open data makes it easier for hackers, nation-states or rival companies to steal sensitive information,” said Rick Holland, Vice President at Digital Shadows.
According to researchers, people are not focused on securing their “external digital footprints” even in the recent wake of data breach and scandals.
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“Misconfigured cloud storage, file exchange protocols, and file sharing services” of third-parties are the major sources of data exposure. In fact, several users end up “backing up their data to the (open) web without knowing it,” explained Holland.
Such a large scale of data exposure can be attributed to poor security practices servers and file sharing protocols which further emphasizes the need to gain awareness towards the security of information you share online.
Learn more about ways to protect your personal data from here.