Data leak exposes users of car-sharing service Blink Mobility

More than 22,000 users of Blink Mobility should take the necessary steps to protect themselves against the risk of identity theft. The Cybernews research team has discovered that their personal data was exposed in a leak.

Los Angeles-based electric car-sharing provider Blink Mobility left a misconfigured MongoDB database open to the public. Its metadata was then indexed by search engines and discovered by Cybernews researchers on October 17th.

The investigation revealed that the database contained more than 22,000 users with 181,000 records, mostly about car rentals.

The database included the personally identifiable information of Blink Mobility customers and administrators, including:

  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Encrypted password
  • Registration date
  • Device info and device token
  • Details on subscription and rented vehicles (license plate, VIN, booking start and end location, etc.)

Cybernews researchers reported the incident to the company the same day it was discovered, and two days later, the database was no longer accessible.

“Anyone with any MongoDB viewer could have accessed the public-facing database. If malicious actors were to discover it first, they could infiltrate such a leak, locking the data and demanding ransom. Hopefully, our team was the first to notice and warn the company. However, the exposed individuals must take some precautions, as their data was briefly in the wild,” Cybernews researchers write.

Cybernews reached out to Blink Mobility for additional comments but did not receive a response before publishing the article.

Blink Mobility offers a clean and convenient transportation solution, with 40 locations around Los Angeles to pick up and drop off electric vehicles and a car charging service.

Blink Mobility leak

A treasure trove for bad actors

Personally identifiable information from car renting companies is highly valued among black-hat hackers and is often sold in batches on cybercrime marketplaces on the dark web.

The exposed information could enable malicious actors to carry out identity theft, phishing attacks, unauthorized access to users' accounts, and other nefarious actions.

“In the wrong hands, this data can be exploited for financial gain. Threat actors could potentially use the exposed information to track users’ movements, manipulate bookings, and engage in fraudulent activities, emphasizing the critical need for robust cybersecurity measures to safeguard user privacy and prevent potential misuse,” Cybernews researchers warn.

Blink Mobility data leak 2

They recommend immediately terminating any active sessions on the device by logging off from the service, changing passwords, and making sure there are no reused passwords on multiple accounts. Additionally, users are advised to enable multi-factor authentication wherever possible.

Exposed individuals should stay vigilant by regularly monitoring their accounts for any suspicious activity, avoiding interaction with phishing attempts, and refraining from clicking any unfamiliar links sent via SMS or email.

MongoDB admins often overlook one setting

While it’s unclear what caused this leak, Cybernews researchers suggest that MongoDB administrators double-check the obvious cyber hygiene checklists.

“The first and the most obvious one – always enable authentication to ensure that only authorized users can access the database. Use strong passwords and consider using keyfile authentication for added security,” researchers suggest.

They often receive explanations from administrators on why the leaks happen, and in one case, it sounded like this:

“Lack of strong security defaults in MongoDB is concerning, particularly the omission of `security.authorization: enabled`. Until the local development instance got exposed with improper database user roles, we were unaware it needed to be enabled.”

MongoDB is a popular NoSQL database solution that stores data in a flexible format similar to JSON, allowing developers to expand data structures on the fly.

Cybernews researchers also recommend implementing monitoring solutions to detect unusual activity or potential security incidents.

“Set up alerts for suspicious events to enable a rapid response,” they said.

Recently, MongoDB database leaks exposed a million crypto exchange GokuMarket users, customers at nine crypto exchanges in Russia, 13 million fortune-telling website WeMystic’s users, Dubai’s largest taxi app clients, and others.