Oracle-owned startup BlueKai left users’ data vulnerable after it failed to secure a server, said Tech Crunch. This resulted in billions of data being exposed. Researcher Anurag Sen discovered the security issue when he found the pool of data.
The company is focused on tracking user information in order to provide accurate advertisements. According to Tech Crunch, BlueKai works using website cookies and other technology to essentially “follow” users as they surf the internet.
This means that any websites users visit and emails they open are tracked by ad tech tools utilized by similar companies. They often use such information to know more about the user, even including their income, political views, interests, and education, to give targeted ads.
The firm is also known for “[amassing] one of the largest banks of web tracking data outside of the federal government,” as per the Tech Crunch report.
Unfortunately, the data that BlueKai has been obtaining was compromised for a time, when the company failed to secure one server with a password.
Sen, who discovered the vulnerability, said that the database included all kinds of information including names, email addresses, and home addresses. Users’ web browsing activities were also divulged including online purchases and newsletters they unsubscribe to.
Staff technologist Bennett Cyphers from Electronic Frontier Foundation told Tech Crunch, “There’s really no telling how revealing some of this data can be.” Other personally identifiable info was also compromised, including those that can help in tracing back the identity of the user, said The Hindu Business Line.
Upon discovering the issue, Sen went through an intermediary to report it to Oracle. He worked with cybersecurity firm Hudson Rock’s Roi Carthy, the current chief executive.
Deborah Hellinger, spokesperson for Oracle said that the company is “aware of the report” about the “[potential exposure]” of BlueKai records. She also noted that an investigation showed that there is a lapse in the security and that Oracle is taking the measure to address it.
Moreover, she also said that the firm is also looking into the necessary steps to ensure that such issues do not reemerge.
Oracle bought BlueKai for $400 million in 2014 as part of its expansion activity. The tech giant is known for almost perfecting tracking technology and for building its database.
The Tech Crunch report noted that this is “one of the largest security lapses this year.” When asked for comments, Oracle did not respond to questions by Tech Crunch.