An otherwise unremarkable find of an open Elasticsearch database containing millions of records became a Sherlock Holmes mystery as researchers cannot figure out the database’s origins.

Security researcher Troy Hunt, of Have I Been Pwned, was informed in February about an open database he has named db8151dd containing 90GB of data containing 22.8 million emails. Hunt noted the information likely was not obtained by scraping public sites and was aggregated in a unique fashion.

“Firstly, my phone number is not usually exposed and that was in there in full. Yes, there are many places that (obviously) have it, but this isn't a scrape from, say, a public LinkedIn page. Next, my record was immediately next to someone else I've interacted with in the past as though the data source understood the association,” he wrote.

Please register to continue.

Already registered? Log in.

Once you register, you'll receive:

  • News analysis

    The context and insight you need to stay abreast of the most important developments in cybersecurity. CISO and practitioner perspectives; strategy and tactics; solutions and innovation; policy and regulation.

  • Archives

    Unlimited access to nearly 20 years of SC Media industry analysis and news-you-can-use.

  • Daily Newswire

    SC Media’s essential morning briefing for cybersecurity professionals.

  • Learning Express

    One-click access to our extensive program of virtual events, with convenient calendar reminders and ability to earn CISSP credits.