Almost the entire population of Ecuador had their personal data leaked online, security experts said Monday, a massive breach that the government called a "very delicate" issue.
As many as 20 million people, including almost seven million minors and children, may have had their data exposed by a breach on an unsecured server run by an Ecuadorean marketing and analytics firm. All have been put at risk of identity theft after the security breach exposed a trove of data including names, phone numbers and birth dates.
Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno said he would push through legislation to ensure stricter data security, while Interior Minister María Paula Romo vowed to hold those responsible accountable.
The information that I can share with you at this moment is that this is a very delicate issue, it is a major concern for the whole of the government and the state," said Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo. "The information we've received is very serious."
The security company vpnMentor uncovered the breach on an unsecured server located in Miami run by the firm Novaestrat, which included citizens' full names, dates and places of birth, education levels, phone numbers and national identity card numbers. Researchers said the server contained information on over 20 million individuals, most of whom reside in Ecuador. The small South American nation is home to just over 17 million people, meaning nearly everyone could have been exposed.
ZDNet, the cybersecurity website that first reported the breach, said there was even data on the country's president and on Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder who applied for asylum in Ecuador and who spent years holed up in the country's London embassy before being arrested this year by British police.
As part of his application for asylum, Assange was issued with an Ecuadorean identity card.