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Database leak exposes illegal spam operation and huge email list

by Eric Frederiksen | March 7, 2017March 7, 2017 2:00 pm PDT

Usually when we hear about a database leak, we have to worry about it getting into the hands of hackers and spammers, sending us poorly-spelled emails from dark rooms somewhere overseas. This time, though, the leak came from the spammers instead of going to them.

According to a report from BetaNews, well-known spam house River City Media (who I’m guessing probably hold your email address Ransom) accidentally exposed a huge email database through a faulty backup.

The database contains over 1.37 billion email addresses. That is, roughly, one email address for every citizen of China, possibly with leftovers. But it’s not just email addresses. The database included tons of information about RCM’s operation, including business plans, chat logs, and more.

Law enforcement is involved

BetaNews got its information from security expert Chris Vickery, who worked with security firm Salted Hash and spam experts Spamhaus. Together, the collected expertise uncovered evidence of illegal IP hijacking techniques, leading them to take the evidence to law enforcement.

RCM’s servers went dark during that process, Vickery said, so it’s hard to say how much of a leak this database will actually account for. At the very least, it’s going to disrupt RCM’s services for a while. If law enforcement doesn’t move quickly, though, they could instead just learn from their mistakes. Let’s hope justice is swift and our inboxes stay clean.


Eric Frederiksen

Eric Frederiksen has been a gamer since someone made the mistake of letting him play their Nintendo many years ago, pushing him to beg for his own,...

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