Sep 19, 2017

Viacom left critical data exposed on Amazon's servers

Viacom Inc. — the parent company of dozens of media brands, including Paramount Pictures, MTV and Nickelodeon — left information exposed on a publically-accessible Internet server that included credentials to servers that power Viacom's business and critical data, according to a blog post by UpGuard, a cybersecurity firm. UpGuard says it caught the exposure and was able to notify Viacom in time to ensure that no damage was done, but that the exposed information could've been used "to cause immense harm to the multinational corporation's business operations." According to a Viacom spokesperson: "there was no material impact."

Why it matters: It would've been a massive leak, had it not been caught and stopped by the proper channels, demonstrating the importance for any tech-based media company to have cybersecurity infrastructure (internally or externally) to begin with. It's important to note that similar data server misconfigurations have occurred with Amazon's Web Services (AWS) platform before, like the Deep Root Analytics exposure this year that exposed the data files of millions of voters. Rival media companies, like Sony and HBO have experienced cyber issues themselves, with both facing major leaks of personal data and intellectual property. This instance is different though, as it seems to have been self-inflicted.

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