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Authorities are investigating after a map claiming to show the addresses of thousands of firearms owners in the UK was published online.
Gun-selling site Guntrader confirmed a data breach affecting more than 100,000 customers, and now it appears that the names and home addresses of 111,000 British firearm owners have been dumped online as a Google Earth-compatible CSV file.
This file pinpoints to individual domestic homes as likely firearm storage locations, as well as postcodes, phone numbers, email addresses and IP addresses.
The National Crime Agency, which has been investigating the data breach and its fallout, said it “is aware that information has been published online as a result of a recent data breach which impacted Guntrader.”
“We are working closely with the South West Regional Cyber Crime Unit, who are leading the criminal investigation, to support the organisation and manage any risk,” the agency said.
The map was leaked online via an animal rights activist’s blog, where the stolen reformatted Guntrader database was explicitly advertised as being importable into Google Earth.
Readers were encouraged to “contact as many [owners] as you can in your area and ask them if they are involved in shooting animals.”
Commenting on the data breach, Jake Moore, Cybersecurity Specialist at ESET, told City A.M. this afternoon: “Leaked data is something we are becoming rather accustomed to, but the particular nature of this information comes with a far higher degree of danger.”
Moore warned the potential combined impact of the personal data compromised is far more severe than most other data breaches.
“Usually, stolen data is copied and either sold or distributed accordingly to those who value the credentials – all of which can be digitally damaging. However, with information attached to locations of weapons, it ramps up the seriousness to a potential life threatening level,” he explained.
Moore stressed “this is a perfect example of where digital crime can crosse over with physical crime, and the two combined can have an even greater impact.”
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