E-commerce company Digital River exposed data belonging to almost 200,000 individuals after hackers executed a “highly unusual search command” against its secured servers, according to a news report.
The breach came to light only after a 19-year-old New York man allegedly tried to sell the purloined data for as much as $500,000, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported Friday. After Eric Porat made repeated attempts to persuade a company called Media Breakaway to buy the information, company officials alerted their counterparts at Digital River, the paper reported, citing court documents. A federal grand jury is investigating the matter with help from the FBI.
The data contained names, email addresses, websites, and unique user-identification numbers for 198,398 individuals. It was originally gathered by affiliated marketing companies using software offered by Digital Rivers subsidiary Direct Response Technologies and stored on password-protected servers.
It was stolen in late January using a “highly unusual” search command. The report didn't elaborate.
Porat, who lives at home with his parents, allegedly claimed to offer the data to the highest bidder. He told the CEO of Media Breakaway he obtained it from a former Digital River consultant, who managed to siphon it off the servers when security systems were taken down temporarily.
Orders filed under seal last month block Porat from selling, destroying, altering, or distributing the data. Documents in the case were unsealed on Wednesday, but court documents weren't available online at time of writing. ®