A list of possible terrorists and high-risk individuals and organizations has been exposed to the public through the internet. The leak, which exposes a detailed database of over 2 million records, came to light when Chris Vickery, a researcher, claimed through Reddit that he was in possession of the confidential database, the World Check, 2014 version.
The list bears details of people suspected to be linked to terrorist activities, organised crime, bribery, corruption, and money laundering. Different organisations make use the list to weed out risky people like terrorists. These include governments, banks, and intelligence agencies all over the world.
Thomas Reuters, who is the man at the helm of World-Check, said there are more than 4,500 organisations that utilise the database. The users include nearly 50 of the world’s largest banking entities, over 300 government and intelligence wings, and major law companies.
Normally, the World-Check list is not supposed to be accessible to the public, but, according to Thomas Reuters, an undisclosed individual or entity has managed to expose a past version of the list to the public through the internet.
Vickery, in his Reddit post, did not explain how he managed to get his hands on the database. He however states; “There was no hacking necessary to get to the list. It just a mere leak but not one coming from Thomas. Perhaps I will share the specifics of how I got the database later on.”
He went on to add that there was no sort of protection like a simple password and username to keep outsiders from accessing the list.
The database, according to Vickery, was hosted by another party other than Thomas Reuters. Although Vickery claims he has pinpointed the location of the leaks to Reuters, it is still accessible through the internet.
“Reuters is doing everything they can to secure the World-Check but at the moment it is still available to anyone,” Vickery stated.
The World Check bears different categories of details about individuals and these include places of birth, dates of birth, and their histories to make sure users of the database have the exact people they are targeting. The World Check is however not without opponents.
People have accused Thomas Reuters of including innocent people on the list without them knowing, and therefore without a chance to defend themselves.
The inaccuracy of the database came to light when the British Broadcasting Corporation Radio 4 obtained access to the list last year August after complaints from a dissatisfied client.