Misconfigured database breaches most of Mexico

Windows rains all over the TV and MongoDB gives up millions of personal details. What a weird, whacky world it’s been in tech this week.

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‘Data breach’ and ‘93 million.’ Those are two phrases you never want to hear in the same sentence, but that’s how many records on individual Mexican voters were posted publicly on the Internet for anyone to download. Security researcher Chris Vickery downloaded the records after finding them in a misconfigured MongoDB database online (there were actually 81 million unique names, and the rest were duplicates).

Vickery also discovered another vulnerable file, which resulted in a smaller but still impressive hack. Not content with blackmailing people for cheating on their partners, the Internet is now going after people who consider themselves just that little bit more attractive than everyone else.

Beautiful People, the dating site that only allows you in if other members think you’re hot enough, got pwned, losing the personal data of 1.1 million members. Hackers took it from an insecure database, garnering more than 100 individual data attributes for the site’s users, including physical attributes, email addresses, phone numbers and salary information. Oh, and personal messages.

Not so pretty after all, eh?

It’s raining 10

Watch out everybody, hurricane Cortana is here. As we all know, Microsoft really, really wants us to upgrade to Windows 10. Windows 8 will constantly nag you until you do. Unfortunately, that nagging pops up on everything, including the composite video system over at Iowa-based KCCI News. The meteorologist, Metinka Slater, found the now-familiar nag box blotting out her doppler radar on live TV while she was busy trying to tell people how much rain they were going to get.

“Microsoft recommends upgrading to Windows 10. What should I do?” she asked on air, before later joking: “Don’t do it!” Maybe she should just switch to a Mac?

Best of expertIP

Could gamification make your company more efficient? Blogger Patricia MacInnis highlighted some of the opportunities in her post on the subject this week. Gamification applies principles found in gaming to non-gaming environments, especially in the business world. A modern, high-tech version of the ‘employee of the month’ initiative, it uses techniques such as point scoring, timers, badges and team competition to improve results within companies.

Gamification is nothing new — any teacher giving out a gold star for performance knows that — and businesses have been trying to do it for a while. The innovation lies in how we apply these principles. Gartner knows it could be a key tool, but it also predicted back in 2012 that most gamified apps would fail to meet objectives due to poor design.

Managers applying the techniques must understand what motivates their employees before rolling out complex software systems to manage points, badges and the like. As with all technology practice, a little forethought goes a long way.

Image courtesy of Free Digital Photos

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