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VirusTotal Data Breach Exposes Personal Information of Registered Users

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A data breach at VirusTotal has resulted in the exposure of personal information belonging to a specific group of registered users, including their names and email addresses. The incident occurred when an employee mistakenly uploaded the data to the malware scanning platform.

The breach, which involved a database containing 5,600 names in a 313KB file, was initially reported by Der Spiegel and Der Standard. VirusTotal, launched in 2004, is a widely used service that analyzes suspicious files and URLs to identify malware and malicious content by employing antivirus engines and website scanners. In 2012, it was acquired by Google and later became a subsidiary of Google Cloud’s Chronicle unit in 2018.

Upon discovering the breach, Google promptly addressed the issue and removed the compromised data. A spokesperson from Google Cloud confirmed the incident and stated that immediate action was taken.

“We are aware that a portion of customer group administrator emails and organization names were unintentionally shared by one of our employees on the VirusTotal platform,” said the Google Cloud spokesperson in a statement provided to The Hacker News.

“We removed the list from the platform within an hour of its discovery, and we are currently reviewing our internal processes and technical controls to enhance our operations going forward.”

The exposed data includes accounts associated with official U.S. entities such as the Cyber Command, Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Security Agency (NSA). Additionally, government agencies in Germany, the Netherlands, Taiwan, and the U.K. were affected as well.

In the previous year, Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) issued a warning against automatically uploading suspicious email attachments to VirusTotal, citing the potential risk of exposing sensitive information.

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