The leak of a database containing the personal details of millions of South Africans is much larger than initially thought.
Security researcher Troy Hunt said he was alerted to the leak of a massive database called “Master Deeds” earlier this week.
According to reports, the leak originated from the main web server of Jigsaw Holdings, which handles several property brands.
The database was reportedly placed on the web server without protection, and was available for anyone to download.
Hunt’s first attempt to restore the database from its 27GB backup file failed after 31.6 million records.
It was estimated there could be over 45 million records in the database – this turned out to be a gross underestimation.
Following the incomplete initial attempt, Hunt has finished a full import of the database – discovering it contains 60.3 million unique South African ID numbers.
A small portion of the records in the database belong to deceased people, explaining how it contains more ID numbers than the current estimated population of South Africa.
In addition to ID numbers and deceased status, the database contained contact details, physical addresses, employer information, job titles, marital status, age group, and estimated monthly income.
Hunt said it is difficult to pin down the dates during which the data was collected, however, based on feedback from South Africans, it appears the database contained information dating back to the 1990s – through to at least 2015.
Based on this anecdotal evidence, and the number of records in the database, South Africans who were economically active since the 1990s are likely to have had their details exposed.
Jigsaw Holdings did not respond to requests for comment on this article.