Public Comment

Mac Head’s Musings -Your Personal Data, for Free on the‘Net

Glen Kohler
Friday November 29, 2019 - 06:37:00 PM

Ypur personal information has become a commodity, harvested and sold on the Internet. You might hope your private affairs are at least handled with care, in light of the thousands of hackers, phishers, and ’bots hitting every web site and server, 24 hours a day. But no, not always. 

Take data seller Apollo, for example. Apollo—which you have probably never heard of—is big in what they call Sales Intelligence. The firm is what is known as a data aggregator: it collects all manner of data from public sources on the web, as well as social networks such as Twitter and LinkedIn, then sells it to every Tom, Dick, or Harry that can pay Apollo’s tarriff. 

This year (at least) data aggregator Apollo failed to secure its web servers. Really. 

Computer and web-savvy people could get in and help themselves. We know this because Vinny Troia, founder of Night Lion Security, makes it a habit to scan the internet for databases that are not secure. Last Summer Vinny discovered that he could access Apollo's very large database. For hackers and ‘bots that’s like leaving a camera on the dashboard of your car and the doors unlocked. Help yourselves, fellas. 

Troia told Apollo that their fly was open in mid-August of this year. 

The sheer volume of information that was available makes this lapse significant. According to an article in Wired Magazine—the source for this story—Troia determined that Apollo possessed 212 million individual contacts, and over nine billion ‘data points’ that show relationships between firms and institutions. 

Given the vast amounts of digital criminal activity taking place every second of every day, is there any doubt that at least some dark entities helped themsevles to Apollo’s storehouse of personal data? Executives at Linked in, from which Apollo has gained copious amounts of information, were particularly angry. 


The people at Apollo aren’t the only ones being careless with other’s information. See Wired Magazine, 07.05.2019: 


Faster Broadband in the U.K. offers on online tool that shows, to some extent at least, whether your email address has been harvested and by whom: