Groups of attackers have adopted a new tactic that involves deleting publicly exposed MongoDB databases and asking for money to restore them. In a matter of days, the number of affected databases has risen from hundreds to more than 10,000.
The issue of misconfigured MongoDB installations, allowing anyone on the internet to access sensitive data, is not new. Researchers have been finding such open databases for years, and the latest estimate puts their number at more than 99,000.
On Monday, security researcher Victor Gevers from the GDI Foundation reported that he found almost 200 instances of publicly exposed MongoDB databases that had been wiped and held to ransom by an attacker or a group of attackers named Harak1r1.
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