Home Cyber Crime Secret terrorist watchlist with 2 million records exposed online

Secret terrorist watchlist with 2 million records exposed online



A secret terrorist watchlist with 1.9 million information, together with categorized “no-fly” information was uncovered on the web.

The record was left accessible on an Elasticsearch cluster that had no password on it.

Hundreds of thousands of individuals on no-fly and terror watchlists uncovered

July this 12 months, Safety Discovery researcher Bob Diachenko got here throughout a plethora of JSON information in an uncovered Elasticsearch cluster that piqued his curiosity.

The 1.9 million-strong recordset contained delicate info on folks, together with their names, nation citizenship, gender, date of beginning, passport particulars, and no-fly standing.

The uncovered server was listed by engines like google Censys and ZoomEye, indicating Diachenko could not have been the one particular person to return throughout the record:

The researcher instructed BleepingComputer that given the character of the uncovered fields (e.g. passport particulars and “no_fly_indicator”) it gave the impression to be a no-fly or an identical terrorist watchlist.

Moreover, the researcher additionally seen some indirect fields akin to “tag,” “nomination kind,” and “selectee indicator,” that weren’t imminently understood by him.

“That was the one legitimate guess given the character of information plus there was a particular area named ‘TCS_ID’,” Diachenko instructed BleepingComputer, which indicated to him the supply of the recordset may very well be the Terrorist Screening Middle (TSC).

FBI’s TSC is utilized by a number of federal companies to handle and share consolidated info for counterterrorism functions.

The company maintains the categorized watchlist known as the Terrorist Screening Database, typically additionally known as the “no-fly list.”

Such databases are considered extremely delicate in nature, contemplating the important position they play in aiding nationwide safety and legislation enforcement duties.

Terrorists or cheap suspects who pose a nationwide safety threat are “nominated” for placement on the key watchlist on the authorities’s discretion.

The record is referenced by airways and a number of companies such because the Division of State, Division of Protection, Transportation Safety Authority (TSA), and Customs and Border Safety (CBP) to examine if a passenger is allowed to fly, inadmissible to the U.S. or assess their threat for varied different actions.

Server taken offline 3 weeks after DHS notified

The researcher found the uncovered database on July nineteenth, apparently, on a server with a Bahrain IP tackle, not a US one.

Nonetheless, the identical day, he rushed to report the information leak to the U.S. Division of Homeland Safety (DHS).

“I found the uncovered information on the identical day and reported it to the DHS.”

“The uncovered server was taken down about three weeks later, on August 9, 2021.”

“It is not clear why it took so lengthy, and I do not know for certain whether or not any unauthorized events accessed it,” writes Diachenko in his report.

The researcher considers this information leak to be critical, contemplating watchlists can record people who find themselves suspected of a bootleg exercise however not essentially charged with any crime.

“Within the mistaken arms, this record may very well be used to oppress, harass, or persecute folks on the record and their households.”

“It may trigger any variety of private {and professional} issues for harmless folks whose names are included within the record,” says the researcher.

Instances, the place folks landed on the no-fly list for refusing to develop into an informant, aren’t unprecedented.

Diachenko believes this leak may subsequently have damaging repercussions for such folks and suspects.

“The TSC watchlist is very controversial. The ACLU, for instance, has for a few years fought against the usage of a secret authorities no-fly record with out due course of,” continued the researcher.

Be aware, it’s not confirmed if the server leaking the record belonged to a U.S. authorities company or a third-party entity.

BleepingComputer has reached out to the FBI and we’re awaiting their response.

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