Over 20 Million People Lost Private Information in Ecuador’s Data Breach

Mallory Alcocer, National and World News

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        Ecuadorian authorities arrested Novastrat’s legal representative after police and investigators raided his home on Sep 16th. 

        The internet security firm, vpnMentor, informed authorities of a massive security failure. This security breach involved the loss of private information of adults and children, both alive and deceased. 

         Last Monday Ecuador’s Attorney General said in a statement “The data allegedly came from a server located in the United States, which would be owned by Novaestrat, a consulting firm that provides services such as data analysis and software development. During the raid, electronic equipment, computers, and storage devices were seized, as well as documentation, among other elements. Prosecutors will continue to practice more proceedings that will serve to investigate the alleged crime.” 

         According to ZDNet, a local data analytics company named Novaestrat left an Elasticsearch server exposed online without a password, allowing anyone to access its data. The data stored on the server included personal information for 20.8 million Ecuadorians (including the details of 6.7 million children), 7.5 million financial and banking records, and 2.5 million car ownership records. 

        Officials from Ecuador’s government says that the company was not supposed to be in possession of the data it had and that they were still looking into how the company got a hold of so much sensitive information. 

         On Tuesday of last week, an arrest was made by Ecuadorian authorities. They arrested the executive of a data analytics firm, William Roberto G.. Authorities seized computer equipment from the executive’s home and took the Novaestrat executive under custody a few hours later. 

         Though the huge data breach was devastating to millions of people, it doesn’t bring all bad. For right now Ecuador is one of three South American nations that have no data protection law, but Ecuador has rushed a draft Privacy Law to Congress. The government had been working on the draft for nearly two years, but due to the unfortunate breach of million’s privacy, they became more motivated to finish it and send it to parliament. 

        This incident was a huge breach of privacy and trust. But hopefully, with this law, it won’t happen again.