The malware scanning service, VirusTotal, has formally apologized for an inadvertent data exposure that impacted over 5,600 of its premium customers. The incident occurred last month when an employee unintentionally uploaded a CSV file to the platform that contained sensitive customer information.
According to Emiliano Martines, Head of Product Management at VirusTotal, the uploaded file held the names and corporate email addresses of premium account holders. However, Martines assured affected customers that the incident was purely an oversight and was not related to a cyber-attack or any existing vulnerability within VirusTotal’s systems.
Moreover, the compromised file was only accessible to VirusTotal partners and cybersecurity analysts who held premium accounts. Users operating anonymous or free accounts were unable to access the premium platform, and hence, were not privy to the exposed file.
Martines commented on the incident, stating, “On June 29, an employee accidentally uploaded a CSV file to the VirusTotal platform, containing limited information specific to our premium account customers, including the names of companies, VirusTotal group names, and the group administrators’ email addresses. We expeditiously removed the file from our platform within one hour of its posting.”
Data Pertaining to Global Government Agencies Unveiled The incident came to light when German news agencies, Der Spiegel and Der Standard, reported on it earlier this week. According to their findings, the 313KB leaked file contained sensitive information associated with official entities within the U.S., including the Cyber Command, Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Security Agency (NSA).
Furthermore, accounts linked to government agencies in Germany, the Netherlands, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom were also included in the exposed file. Der Spiegel elaborated, stating, “It is a list of 5,600 names, including employees of the U.S. intelligence service NSA and German intelligence services. Twenty accounts alone lead to the ‘Cyber Command’ of the USA, a key nexus for both offensive and defensive hacking operations, with representation from the US Department of Justice, FBI, and the NSA.”
The file also contained data linked to employees from the national authorities of the Netherlands, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom, as well as various German government agencies, including the Federal Intelligence Service, Federal Police, and the Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD).
Private sector data wasn’t immune either. Information concerning employees from several high-profile German companies, including Bundesbank, Deutsche Bahn, Allianz, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Deutsche Telekom, was also found in the compromised file.