Researchers say two financial services companies have exposed over 500,000 sensitive legal and financial documents by storing them in an unprotected AWS S3 bucket.
vpnMentor’s research team discovered the exposed database in December 2019. An investigation revealed that the files appeared to be connected to a merchant cash advance mobile app named MCA Wizard and they likely belonged to Advantage Capital Funding and Argus Capital Funding.
The now-defunct MCA Wizard app was developed by the two companies, which share the same physical address and even some employees. Advantage and Argus help small businesses in the United States obtain funding.
When vpnMentor’s attempts to alert the firms failed, it decided to notify AWS directly, which removed access to the database within two days.
The more than 500,000 exposed documents, totaling 425Gb of data, included credit reports, contracts, bank statements, driver’s licenses, legal paperwork, tax returns, purchase orders, transaction reports for payment cards and merchant accounts, social security information, and access information for bank accounts.
“This leak raises serious credibility and trust issues for Advantage and Argus. By not sufficiently securing this database and revealing so much information, they have compromised the safety, privacy, and security of their clients, partners, and customers,” vpnMentor said in a blog post.
“Those affected may take action against Advantage and Argus for doing so, either from ceasing to do business with either company or possibly pursuing legal actions. Both would result in considerable loss of clients, contracts, business relationships, and ultimately, revenue,” it added.
Malicious hackers could have also leveraged the exposed data to launch attacks against the two companies, researchers said.