Web entrepreneur accused of massive data heist

9,000 plus consumer reports lifted, suit says


Consumer rating service Angie's List has accused a web entrepreneur of plundering thousands of its records so he could start a rival company that offers a similar service.

In a lawsuit filed in Indiana state court, attorneys for Angie's List claim Christopher "Kit" Cody became a paying member of the site and then used scraping software to mine reports it provided on plumbers, dentists and roofers. Cody allegedly used the records for a competing site that he called Trustys.com.

An attorney for Cody disputed the allegations.

"We consider it industrial espionage," a spokeswoman for Angie's List told IndyStar.com. "He came in to use technology to basically cut and paste reports."

Angie's List boasts more than 750,000 consumers who use the site to screen companies offering services in more than 400 categories. The site, which is something of a Yelp focusing on consumer services, has been expanding rapidly in the US. Members submit reports, which are then relied upon by other members.

The suit claims Cody accessed 9,278 service-provider files from the site using a bot during multiple sessions. During a single two-hour period in early December, he harvested more than 2,450 profiles, IndyStar.com reported.

"We dispute the allegations, and we intend to defend against them vigorously," an attorney for Cody said.

A hearing on the matter is scheduled for next month. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • Info on 1.5m people stolen from US bank in cyberattack
    Time to rethink that cybersecurity strategy?

    A US bank has said at least the names and social security numbers of more than 1.5 million of its customers were stolen from its computers in December.

    In a statement to the office of Maine's Attorney General this month, Flagstar Bank said it was compromised between December and April 2021. The organization's sysadmins, however, said they hadn't fully figured out whose data had been stolen, and what had been taken, until now. On June 2, they concluded criminals "accessed and/or acquired" files containing personal information on 1,547,169 people.

    "Flagstar experienced a cyber incident that involved unauthorized access to our network," the bank said in a statement emailed to The Register.

    Continue reading
  • There are 24.6 billion pairs of credentials for sale on dark web
    Plus: Citrix ASM has some really bad bugs, and more

    In brief More than half of the 24.6 billion stolen credential pairs available for sale on the dark web were exposed in the past year, the Digital Shadows Research Team has found.

    Data recorded from last year reflected a 64 percent increase over 2020's total (Digital Shadows publishes the data every two years), which is a significant slowdown compared to the two years preceding 2020. Between 2018 and the year the pandemic broke out, the number of credentials for sale shot up by 300 percent, the report said. 

    Of the 24.6 billion credentials for sale, 6.7 billion of the pairs are unique, an increase of 1.7 billion over two years. This represents a 34 percent increase from 2020.

    Continue reading
  • Elasticsearch server with no password or encryption leaks a million records
    POS and online ordering vendor StoreHub offered free Asian info takeaways

    Researchers at security product recommendation service Safety Detectives claim they’ve found almost a million customer records wide open on an Elasticsearch server run by Malaysian point-of-sale software vendor StoreHub.

    Safety Detectives’ report states it found a StoreHub sever that stored unencrypted data and was not password protected. The security company’s researchers were therefore able to waltz in and access 1.7 billion records describing the affairs of nearly a million people, in a trove totalling over a terabyte.

    StoreHub’s wares offer point of sale and online ordering, and the vendor therefore stores data about businesses that run its product and individual buyers’ activities.

    Continue reading
  • Verizon: Ransomware sees biggest jump in five years
    We're only here for DBIRs

    The cybersecurity landscape continues to expand and evolve rapidly, fueled in large part by the cat-and-mouse game between miscreants trying to get into corporate IT environments and those hired by enterprises and security vendors to keep them out.

    Despite all that, Verizon's annual security breach report is again showing that there are constants in the field, including that ransomware continues to be a fast-growing threat and that the "human element" still plays a central role in most security breaches, whether it's through social engineering, bad decisions, or similar.

    According to the US carrier's 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) released this week [PDF], ransomware accounted for 25 percent of the observed security incidents that occurred between November 1, 2020, and October 31, 2021, and was present in 70 percent of all malware infections. Ransomware outbreaks increased 13 percent year-over-year, a larger increase than the previous five years combined.

    Continue reading
  • Millions of people's info stolen from MGM Resorts dumped on Telegram for free
    Meanwhile, Twitter coughs up $150m after using account security contact details for advertising

    Miscreants have dumped on Telegram more than 142 million customer records stolen from MGM Resorts, exposing names, postal and email addresses, phone numbers, and dates of birth for any would-be identity thief.

    The vpnMentor research team stumbled upon the files, which totaled 8.7 GB of data, on the messaging platform earlier this week, and noted that they "assume at least 30 million people had some of their data leaked." MGM Resorts, a hotel and casino chain, did not respond to The Register's request for comment.

    The researchers reckon this information is linked to the theft of millions of guest records, which included the details of Twitter's Jack Dorsey and pop star Justin Bieber, from MGM Resorts in 2019 that was subsequently distributed via underground forums.

    Continue reading
  • India gives local techies 60 days to hit 6-hour deadline for infosec incident reporting
    Customer data collection and retention requirements also increased, including for crypto operators

    India's Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has given many of the nation's IT shops a big job that needs to be done in a hurry: complying with a new set of rules that require organizations to report 20 different types of infosec incidents within six hours of detection, be they a ransomware attack or mere compromise of a social media account.

    The national infosec agency stated the short deadline is needed as it has identified "certain gaps causing hindrance in incident analysis."

    Organizations can use email, phone, or fax to send incident reports. Just how the analog mediums will improve improve analysis gaps is uncertain.

    Continue reading
  • Coca-Cola probes pro-Kremlin gang's claims of 161GB data theft
    Life tastes not so good right now

    Coca-Cola confirmed it's probing a possible network intrusion after the Stormous cybercrime gang claimed it stole 161GB of data from the beverage giant.

    "We are aware of this matter and are investigating to determine the validity of the claim," Coca-Cola communications global vice president Scott Leith told The Register on Tuesday. "We are coordinating with law enforcement."

    The ransomware gang, which has declared its support for the Russian government's illegal invasion of Ukraine, this week bragged it "hacked some of the company's servers and passed a large amount of data inside them without their knowledge." It's now trying to sell the stolen data for about $64,000, or nearest offer "depending on the amount of data you want," Stormous wrote on its website where it leaks pilfered information.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022