According to a cybersecurity research team, sensitive information, including email addresses and phone numbers of U.S. military personnel, was exposed due to a misconfigured cloud storage account.
The compromised data was linked to a third-party contractor who worked with the US military. The information was made public because of a misconfiguration in an Amazon Web Services S3 bucket.
According to TechCrunch, a security researcher discovered an email server containing internal US military messages, some of which contained sensitive personal information, such as an SF-86 questionnaire that federal employees must complete as part of their security clearance process. According to the report, it was one of a group of email servers in the US Special Operations Command (USSCOM), but it was most likely on the civilian side. However, due to a misconfiguration, the server was left without a password, allowing anyone on the internet to access the sensitive mailbox data inside using only a web browser and its IP address.
The emails also contained sensitive information, such as discussions about military operations and classified intelligence, as well as conversations between high-ranking military officials.
None of the limited data appeared to be classified, which is consistent with USSOCOM’s civilian network because classified networks are inaccessible via the internet.
The mailbox server was first detected spilling data on February 8, according to a listing on Shodan, a search engine that crawls the web for exposed systems and databases. It’s unclear how the mailbox data got exposed to the public internet, but it’s most likely due to a human error.
The sources for this piece include an article in DataCenterKnowledge.