ABC data leak exposes trove of sensitive commercial information

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has accidentally leaked sensitive information revealing logins, passwords and backups connected with ABC’s commercial operations, tech website ITNews has revealed.

Research site Kromtech Security Center discovered a “trove of data” from ABC Commercial, when the researchers ran a regular online search of poorly setup cloud computing sites.

ABC has warned staff members to remain “impartial”

The exposed files contained thousands of emails, logins and passwords for ABC Commercial users to access content, requests for licensed content, secret access key and login details for other repositories and 1800 database backups.

It is not the first time the ABC leaked data from unsecured online servers. In 2013 a neglected site connected with the discontinued program ‘Making Australia Happy’ exposed 49,500 users’ details to the web and in 2010 an archived Augmented Reality project called Bluebird gave away the names, email addresses and passwords of 880 players.

ABC Commercial provides content marketing, along with managing merchandise sales, events and digital services for the broadcaster.

Kromtech said the ABC secured this leak, which occurred due to an Amazon S3 instance not having proper security settings, shortly after they were notified of the problem.

An ABC spokesperson told Mumbrella: “The ABC has confirmed that it was notified of a data exposure on 16 November. ABC technology teams moved to solve this issue as soon as they became aware,”

Bob Diachenko, head of communications at Kromtech said the leak of sensitive information was a warning for ABC to take cybersecurity seriously.

“Security can not be ignored anymore and and it is not just an organization’s reputation but the real data of customers, partners, or vital business information that is at stake with each new data breach,” Diachenko said.

Other publishers including AccentureDow Jones and Verizon have encountered similar problems with their cloud computing services as organisations struggle with online security.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.