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Another Amazon AWS Cloud Data Leak: 4M Time Warner Customer Records Exposed

Alex Kernishniuk
Alex Kernishniuk

More than 4 million Time Warner Cable customer records were exposed via an Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud leak, according to The Kromtech Security Center. But don't blame Amazon for the leak. Instead, the culprit apparently involved BroadSoft consultants who developed the MyTWC app for Time Warner Cable.

Kromtech discovered the exposed Time Warner Cable customer data on AWS in August, and traced the cloud account to BroadSoft. When the security researcher reached out to the alleged culprit, a BroadSoft engineer replied and denied involvement with the AWS account, Kromtech says. Perhaps coincidentally, the leak was corrected shortly thereafter, the security firm adds.

Charter Communications Inc., Time Warner Cable's parent, says the exposed data has been removed from AWS and the incident is being investigated, according to Reuters.

Misconfigured Amazon S3 Cloud Security Settings

The leak involved a misconfigured AWS account, according to Alex Kernishniuk, VP of strategic alliances, Kromtech:

"Unfortunately, oftentimes developers like to simplify their life or quickly resolve some technical problems and grant public read access to the buckets. There are at least two tools already provided by AWS to detect this critical security flaw with your S3 buckets - AWS Trusted Advisor and AWS Config."

Kromtech also is developing a free tool that will allow customers and service providers to check security for public S3 buckets in a better way, the company says.

AWS User Error Causes Cloud Data Leaks

AWS data leaks -- based on user error rather than Amazon error -- have grabbed headlines multiple times in recent weeks. Among the organizations that suffered AWS-related data exposures:

To reiterate: Each case involved user, consultant or IT pro error -- rather than Amazon software bugs or malware. In response, Amazon has been promoting user education and in August 2017 also launched its own Data Loss Prevention (DLP) tool called Macie.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.