In what could be a major cyber-security breach, data on an estimated 20 million people from Ecuador leaked online. Almost entire population of Ecuador was affected by this breach, including nearly seven million minors and deceased citizens, the state attorney general's office said. The data was hosted on an unsecured server run by an Ecuadoran marketing and analytics firm.
"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.
According to the UN Population Fund, Ecuador has a population of 17 million. Authorities said the data was allegedly hosted on a server based in the United States. The security company vpnMentor uncovered the breach, which included full names, dates and places of birth, education levels, phone numbers and national identity card numbers of Ecuador citizens.
ZDNet first reported on the reach. It said the data on the country's president and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was also leaked. Assange applied for asylum in Ecuador. Before being arrested by British police this year, Assange spent years holed up in London embassy in Ecuador. As part of his application for asylum, Assange was issued an Ecuadoran identity card.
vpnMentor, a firm that uncovered the breach, reportedly contacted the Computer Emergency Response Team in Ecuador to secure the leaked data. Romo said the government was "working on an investigation which will permit us in the coming hours to assess who is responsible for what happened."
"I hope, too, that in the hours to come, the telecommunications ministry will be able to assess more thoroughly technical information about data protection."
Authorities in Ecuador said they had raided Novaestrat's office to collect evidence, including computers and electronic equipment. Meanwhile, the ministry of telecommunications said it would send a bill on personal data protection to the National Assembly as part of the government's efforts to prevent such leaks.