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Global database leaks details of 22 lakh suspected terrorists online

New Delhi: A database containing details of over 22 lakh suspected terrorists has been leaked online, a security researcher has claimed. Known as World-Check, the global database is used by over 300 government and intelligence agencies, 49 of the

India TV News Desk Updated on: July 02, 2016 14:16 IST
Representational image
Representational image

New Delhi: A database containing details of over 22 lakh suspected terrorists has been leaked online, a security researcher has claimed.

Known as World-Check, the global database is used by over 300 government and intelligence agencies, 49 of the 50 biggest banks, and 9 of the top 10 global law firms as "an early warning system for hidden risk".

The updated version contains a blacklist of individuals which are suspected of having links to terrorism, to help organisations such as banks pay special attention on "heightened-risk individuals".

The database belongs to Thomson Reuters, who gained possession of it as part of the purchase of a company for $530 million (approx. 3500 cr).

However, security researcher, Chris Vickery, announced on Reddit that he obtained a copy of the World-Check database from mid-2014, asking fellow users if he should publish it for everyone to see.

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Representational image

For sheer clarity, they advised he should. Vickery has so far only disclosed its location to Thomson Reuters but warns the database is still exposed online.

The terrorism category is only a small part of the database, Vickery said. Other categories consist of individuals suspected of being related to money laundering, organised crime, bribery, and corruption.

Vickery is yet to reveal how he managed to get this upscale data complimentary. Thomson Reuters usually charges organisations up to $1m (6.7 cr) in annual subscriptions to access the list and it definitely isn’t out in the open.

Such subscribers are also scrutinized to make sure data doesn't get into the wrong hands, which makes the leak contradictory.

 The security expert said he was not a hacker, and stated the information was attained through a leak. However, he cautioned that the security holes that enabled him to download the entire database without paying the subscription fees are still there.

India Tv - Representational image

Representational image

 “No hacking was involved in my acquisition of this data,” said Vickery. “I would call it more of a leak than anything, although not directly from Thomson Reuters. The exact details behind that can be shared at a later time.”

Thomson Reuters said it is working to fix the issue and secure the site.

In a statement, a spokesperson said: "Thomson Reuters was yesterday alerted to the fact that out of date information from the World-Check database had been exposed by a third party.

"We are grateful to Chris Vickery for bringing this to our attention, and have acted with the upmost urgency to contact the third party concerned – with whom we are now in contact in order to secure the information."

Vickery said the news agency even looked him up after reading his Reddit post and confirmed the information.

"They were very nice,” he said. “I have passed along details of where the leak is and, to the best of my knowledge; they are working to get it secured.”

 

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