Terror-suspect database used by banks, governments, has been leaked

Thomson Reuters has secured the source of the leak

A database described by some as a "terrorism blacklist" has fallen into the hands of a white-hat hacker who may decide to make it accessible to the public online.

The database, called World-Check, belongs to Thomson Reuters and is used by banks, governments and intelligence agencies to screen people for criminal ties and links to terrorism.

Security researcher Chris Vickery claims to have obtained a 2014 copy of the database. He announced the details on Tuesday in a post on Reddit.

"No hacking was involved in my acquisition of this data," he wrote. "I would call it more of a leak than anything, although not directly from Thomson Reuters."

Vickery declined to share how he obtained the data, but he's already contacted Thomson Reuters about securing the source of the leak.

In an email, Thomson Reuters said on Wednesday that it was "grateful" to Vickery for the alert. The "third-party" that leaked the database has taken it down, the company added.

Vickery has previously exposed database leaks related to Mexican voters, a Hello Kitty online fan community and medical records.

His copy of the World-Check database contains the names of over 2.2 million people and organizations declared "heightened risks." Only a small part of the data features a terrorism category. Additional categories include individuals with ties to money laundering, organized crime, corruption and others.

He is asking Reddit users whether he should leak the database to the public. His concern is that innocent people with no criminal ties may have been placed on the list.

The information isn't really secret either. Users can buy access to the database from Thomson Reuters.

Leaking the database, however, could create risks and tip off "actual bad guys" that they’ve been placed on the list, Vickery said.

Thomson Reuters declined to say how it might respond if Vickery decides to publicize the information. The World-Check database is sourced from the company’s analysts, "industry sources" and government records.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?