Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation accidentally spammed an individual with login files containing IDs, transactions, and account details for high-profile clients.
The company last year moved more than $1.7 quadrillion in deals for customers like executives at the Bank of America, Barclays, and Deutsche Bank.
The unidentified individual, a reader of the Register, on 12/9 received 20,000 diagnostic emails from DTCC filled with details he should not have been seeing.
The log files listed corporate network activity, such as Windows and Unix logon events and mail server warnings. The alerts revealed session IDs; email addresses for the executives, along with user rankings that identified admin accounts; the time stamps of transactions and logins; and more.
“Our man was at home with the flu watching Lord of the Rings on loop in an effort to get to sleep (a technique he reported was eventually successful) when his iPad started to ring constantly with new email alerts,” the Register reports.
The reader, who has a background in ISP networking, found the messages held information that would be very useful for miscreants with a talent for social engineering or network penetration.
“He first tried emailing DTCC to tell them about the problem, but got an email bounce back. Next he tried an email address of a banker found in one of the files, but the recipient misunderstood the message completely and simply emailed back asking to be removed from the reader's mailing list,” according to the Register.
"I got a bit twitchy when I saw lots of different bankers logging in: I'm studying Internet Crime, so I've been doing a lot of researching on, well, internet crimes," he told the publication.
Eventually, the individual became irked that the spam was masking personal messages and eating into his data plan at a frightening rate via his Gmail-linked Android phone. Luckily (or unluckily), he contacted the press to grab the company’s attention.
“To its credit, DTCC did respond to the issue quite quickly. Its press flack was at her child's birthday party, but alerted the company to the issue and the email flood has now ended,” the Register reports.
"These messages were inadvertently sent out as a result of human error. We have confirmed that this was an isolated incident and that no other individuals received this or similar information," a company spokeswoman told the Register.
She could not verify the root of the problem, but the publication speculates that the error stemmed from the configuration of an IBM QRadar Security Intelligence Platform. The product sends a snapshot of network activity to an admin's email address, and it appears that the individual's address was entered inadvertently.
ThreatWatch is a regularly updated catalog of data breaches successfully striking every sector of the globe, as reported by journalists, researchers and the victims themselves.