An unsecured Amazon S3 bucket owned by cannabis retailer THSuite was found leaking the data of more than 30,000 individuals. It was discovered by a vpnMentor research team during a large-scale web mapping project, exposed 85,000 files that included records with sensitive personally identifiable information (PII).
THSuite provides business process management software services to cannabis dispensary owners and operators in the U.S. The software platform helps simplify the compliance process for dispensary operators by automatically integrating collected data with each state's API traceability system.
Consequently, the platform accesses a great amount of private data, a lot of which was left exposed by an unsecured and unencrypted Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) bucket owned by the retailer. The research team was able to access all files hosted on the database using a web browser.
After careful investigation, THSuite was notified two days after the discovery of the data breach. The report was forwarded to Amazon Web Services (AWS) on January 7 before the database was closed on January 14.
Out of the estimated 85,000 files that were leaked, over 30,000 were records with sensitive personally identifiable information (PII) that included scanned government and company IDs, medical/state ID numbers with expiration dates, and personal signatures. The exposed information also included dispensary inventory and sales information, employee names, and monthly sales reports.
So much information was exposed that it was deemed impossible to go through them all; random sampling was done on a handful of entries instead. The vpnMentor report added that the breach possibly affects all THSuite clients and customers. Three dispensaries from Maryland, Ohio, and Colorado were confirmed to be affected. No specific customer information was found for the last. However, not all compromised entries were examined in detail, so the data might exist.
Exposing protected health information (PHI) is a federal crime under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). This raises serious privacy concerns for both medical marijuana patients and recreational marijuana users, as the exposed info could negatively affect their personal and professional lives.
Fixing a leaky database
Cloud technology allows organizations of all sizes to scale more quickly, streamline operations, and innovate products and services. Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud are all well-known and widely-used cloud computing resources.
Organizations can adopt the best practices below to strengthen an organization’s data security and prevent data breaches:
When it comes to cloud security, businesses should weigh their options to find a solution that addresses their needs. The best security solutions should be able to offer threat detection, network intrusion prevention, and security management.
For those using AWS, Azure, and VMware systems, Trend Micro™ Deep Security™ as a Service secures servers without the need for installations. The solution allows the implementation of new upgrades without downtime and instantaneous connections to cloud and data center resources.
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