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United Nations Accidentally Exposed Passwords and Sensitive Information to the Whole Internet

Published: September 24, 2018
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Source: The Intercept

THE UNITED NATIONS accidentally published passwords, internal documents, and technical details about websites when it misconfigured popular project management service Trello, issue tracking app Jira, and office suite Google Docs.

The mistakes made sensitive material available online to anyone with the proper link, rather than only to specific users who should have access. Affected data included credentials for a U.N. file server, the video conferencing system at the U.N.’s language school, and a web development environment for the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Security researcher Kushagra Pathak discovered the accidental leak and notified the U.N. about what he found a little over a month ago. As of today, much of the material appears to have been taken down.

In an online chat, Pathak said he found the sensitive information by running searches on Google. The searches, in turn, produced public Trello pages, some of which contained links to the public Google Docs and Jira pages.

Trello projects are organized into “boards” that contain lists of tasks called “cards.” Boards can be public or private. After finding one public Trello board run by the U.N., Pathak found additional public U.N. boards by using “tricks like by checking if the users of one Trello board are also active on some other boards and so on.” One U.N. Trello board contained links to an issue tracker hosted on Jira, which itself contained even more sensitive information. Pathak also discovered links to documents hosted on Google Docs and Google Drive that were configured to be accessible to anyone who knew their web addresses. Some of these documents contained passwords.

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