A massive number of emails of about 808 million with personal information were leaked online when a public MongoDB was kept without a password by an “enterprise email validation service provider” Verifications.io.
Compromised data were Dates of birth, Email addresses, Employers, Genders, Geographic locations, IP addresses, Job titles, Names, Phone numbers, Physical addresses of individuals.
The discovery was made by Bob Diachenko of SecurityDiscovery.com on February 25, 2019.
According to HaveIBeenPwned – an online service which detects and reports if your email has been part of a data breach –
In February 2019, the email address validation service verifications.io suffered a data breach. Discovered by Bob Diachenko and Vinny Troia, the breach was due to the data being stored in a MongoDB instance left publicly facing without a password and resulted in 763 million unique email addresses being exposed. Many records within the data also included additional personal attributes such as names, phone numbers, IP addresses, dates of birth and genders. No passwords were included in the data. The Verifications.io website went offline during the disclosure process, although an archived copy remains viewable.
How does an Enterprise email validation service like that of Verifications.io works?
Someone uploads a list of email addresses that they want to validate.
Verifications.io has a list of mail servers and internal email accounts that they use to “validate” an email address.
They do this by literally sending the people an email. If it does not bounce, the email is validated.
If it bounces, they put it in a bounce list so they can easily validate later on.
“Curiosity is the lust of the mind” – (Thomas Hobbes).
Curiosity, coupled with ignorance is what makes online scammers very successful. Social media onboards everyone online, making social engagements virtually possible. And so as hoaxes and scams too.
Fake Facebook Contests
Facebook pages promising to give away cars, iphones, and other contest prizes for liking their pages are mostly hoax, fake. Don’t fall with their schemes of getting hundreds of thousands of page likes.
Legit FB pages have clear information about the page, and it’s business. There’s a valid contact details, and the contest or promotion has permit and is properly registered with a government regulating body like the Department of Trade and Industry (Philippines).
Another type of scam, “like-farming” is very popular on Facebook. It posts an image of a child with a horrible disease, or a picture of Jesus Christ with caption “If you love Jesus, please click like and type AMEN.”
Others are very subtle, like posting a picture of a crippled man playing a guitar and then gently asks – “if you like this, please like and share…”
Clickbait headlines are also another way to generate tons of traffic to a website. Even traditional media like CNN have done clickbait headlines to increase traffic and engagements. There is currently a clamor to end this practice, and hopefully advertising merchants like Google, Bing and Yahoo Ads can take action soon.
Wondering what they can achieve and why enticing people to get those likes? It’s all about MAKING MONEY!
Multiple FB pages can be “merged” with other FB pages to consolidate all likes and followers. The more FB likes and followers, the higher is the “page engagement” and “influence.” The more influential the page or site, the higher is the potential to make money.
How they Make Money online?
The below ways to make money online are some of the most popular and are actually legitimate. Unfortunately, many are “gaming” these strategies to make more money.
Sponsored Posts and Facebook Page Flipping. Facebook pages with hundreds of thousands of followers or “likers” can be very effective in advertising campaigns and products. A simple sponsored post of a product or service, or a link to another site can cost an advertiser a few hundred dollars. Others sell these pages too (page flipping) for a more premium price.
Ad Clicks. Many online sites make money from online advertising. Website owners, or “publishers” can be paid by the number of ad clicks generated. Actual click ads can earn from .10 cents to 2 US dollars and as high as 10 to 20 dollars, depending on the type of ad displayed.
CPM. Publishers are also paid per 1,000 page views (or impressions) which in online advertising world is called CPM or PPM (cost /pay per mille). Even if no actual ad clicks, a website can still earn money. A typical CPM rate ranges from a few cents to 1USD-3USD. It could be higher in some cases depending on the quality of keywords and the type of ads displayed.
CPA. Another popular website revenue generator are CPA or cost per action. It pays at a range of a few cents to as high as 50USD or even more (usually higher than ad clicks and CPM). A typical CPA campaign is when you are asked to click a “like button”, or make a “free subscription”, fill up a form or any other actions before you can access the content you want.
Affiliate Marketing. Some websites can earn money through selling of products and services of other people’s business. These are paid mostly through affiliate earnings or “commissions.” Others can be paid by just simply sending visitors or “traffic” to another website, or when the visitor makes actual purchase or paid subscriptions.
How much money could be made?
It varies, and there’s no “standard information” available to make an intelligent “guesstimate”, however, ranges can be used to measure how much money could be made.
For ad clicks, the instance an ad is clicked for every 1000 impressions could vary from null to as high as 10 clicks. Again it depends on how relevant is the displayed ad to the website content.
Revenue from CPM is more predictable than ad clicks. Revenue per 1,000 page views could still vary a lot, depending on the ad relevance to the website content. Others claim that at an average, they get 20 cents to 2USD per 1,000 impressions. If we assume one has 1 million FB page likers or followers, and 20% actually click the link to the website page with ads, that’s 200,000 page views at a minimum per FB post. Potential revenue from ads could range from 40USD to 100USD or even as high as 200USD per FB post!
CPA and Affiliate Marketing are even more lucrative. You can see the linked posts to understand how it works and how much potential revenue can be generated.
So, next time you see these type of FB contests, clickbait headlines and scams, think before you click.