Cosmetics Giant Avon Leaks 19 Million Records

A misconfigured cloud server at global cosmetics brand Avon was recently discovered leaking 19 million records including personal information and technical logs.

Researchers at SafetyDetectives led by Anurag Sen told Infosecurity that they found the Elasticsearch database on an Azure server publicly exposed with no password protection or encryption.

“The vulnerability effectively means that anyone possessing the server’s IP address could access the company’s open database,” it explained in a subsequent report.

The London-headquartered firm, which boasts over $5.5bn in annual worldwide sales, was apparently exposing the 7GB database for nine days before it was discovered on June 12.

It contained personally identifiable information (PII) on customers and potentially employees, including full names, phone numbers, dates of birth, email and home addresses, and GPS coordinates. Also included in the haul were 40,000+ security tokens, OAuth tokens, internal logs, account settings and technical server information.

While the PII could have been leveraged to commit a wide range of identity fraud and follow-on phishing scams, the exposed technical details also posed a risk to Avon, according to SafetyDetectives.

“Given the type and amount of sensitive information made available, hackers would be able to establish full server control and conduct severely damaging actions that permanently damage the Avon brand; namely, ransomware attacks and paralyzing the company’s payments infrastructure,” it argued.

Interestingly, a June 9 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission revealed the firm had suffered a “cyber-incident in its information technology environment which has interrupted some systems and partially affected operations.”

A second filing on June 12 claimed that the firm was planning a restart of its systems.

“Avon is continuing the investigation to determine the extent of the incident, including potential compromised personal data,” it continued. “Nevertheless, at this point it does not anticipate that credit card details were likely affected, as its main e-commerce website does not store that information.”

It’s unclear whether the incident was linked to this exposed cloud server or not.

What’s Hot on Infosecurity Magazine?