Digital Shadows research has shown the number of files exposed has reached 2.3 billion, a 50 percent increase over last year.
According to the research, data exposure is caused by misconfiguration of file storage technologies—Server Message Block protocol, FTP services, rsync, Amazon S3 ‘buckets’ and Network Attached Storage devices.
While not all of the data is sensitive, some of the files include sensitive information. The files contain both customer information as well as business information.
This could also cause problems for many businesses due to possible GDPR breaches. Companies found guilty of breaking GDPR could face up to of €20 million in fines.
“Our research shows that in a GDPR world, the implications of inadvertently exposed data are even more significant,” said Harrison Van Riper, a Photon Research analyst. “Countries within the European Union are collectively exposing over one billion files—nearly 50% of the total we looked at globally—some 262 million more than when we looked at last year.”
Moreover, the data could be used by ransomware. Digital Shadows states “over 17 million exposed files have been encrypted by ransomware.” Moreover, since the data includes passport data, bank records and medical information, it could be used for identity theft as well.