Data-slurping keyboard app makes Mongo mistake with user data

Ai.type leaves wealth of personal info open to all


Another week, another open database left online, but this latest case has shown not only sloppy security but also how much data you’re giving up with some apps.

On Tuesday security shop Kromtech released details on a MongoDB database it found unsecured online containing 577GB of data collected by predictive keyboard app AI.type from its over 31 million users.

This included the name, email address and location, along with IMSI and IMEI numbers, IP address, phone spec and OS details, and links to user's social media profiles and photos. It also slurped 373 million names and phone numbers from the contacts of over six million users.

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“Theoretically, it is logical that anyone who has downloaded and installed the Ai.Type virtual keyboard on their phone has had all of their phone data exposed publicly online,” said Bob Diachenko, head of communications at the Kromtech Security Center.

“This presents a real danger for cyber criminals who could commit fraud or scams using such detailed information about the user. It raises the question once again if it is really worth it for consumers to submit their data in exchange for free or discounted products or services that gain full access to their devices.”

Ai.type’s founder Eitan Fitusi told The Register that the MongoDB database had been secured once Kromtech had reported the issue and that the archive only contained around half of the firm’s database information. He said it contained secondary information that was “mostly statistical behavior information, about user use patterns of the keyboard.”

“There is no sensitive data there, we are not collecting\storing \sending any password or credit card information,” he said. “We don’t even learn it on the local device!!! So no one that uses our keyboard cannot be offended in any way and they all can feel safe, the data is completely flat and non-personal.”

You can’t build a predictive keyboard without slurping some data, but the range of materials gathered may alarm some users, not to mention the fact that all of this was left online for anyone with an internet connection to find. ®

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