I’m a huge supporter of volunteer work and charities around the world. One major inspiration has been Bill Gates who recently came out supporting a site called GlobalCitizen.org.
Naturally, I signed up on January 23rd 2015 to show my support and help out in any way I could. The organization sports an impressive list of partners and seems to be serious enough.
However, I couldn’t. Or rather, I could, but when I logged in, I got the detailed information, including access to reward points for supporting the organization, for someone completely different. I have no idea why, but I was now logged in as a person was called Anuj K of India, born September 17, 1975.
Now, this is a very serious thing, both because of the breach of privacy but also because the points volunteers earn are redeemable for real-life goods and services.
The first thing I did was email the group and inform them.
I’ve blurred out the description of the ‘exploit’ (although it really isn’t).
Several days later, I got a response stating that my inquiry had been forwarded. However, checking a week later, the issue was still present, but now I got logged in as yet another person rather than myself.
Here comes the shocking bit. I was told that they were aware of the issue and that others had reported the same thing. However, they didn’t do anything to fix it. I offered to help them because I’ve built a number of systems like these myself and could probably get it reviewed quickly, but I got no response.
I then forgot about it until a few days ago, assuming that they had it under control. But, lo and behold, I logged in, got a clearly faked profile of Arnold Schwarzenegger and today the profile of someone called Rhonda.
I should reiterate that I have full access to these people’s profiles, including it seems spending of their reward points (although I haven’t tried completing a transaction, for obvious reasons).
I can no longer keep mum when the organization after one and a half month has clearly neglected securing their users from privacy breaches and loss of reward points. I’ve urged them to close logins and signups until they fix the issue, but clearly they do not care enough.
Which is sad, but the short of it is: Do not under any circumstance log in to GlobalCitizen.org as your information will be leaked to the public, your rewards will be forfeit, and your profile is very likely to be misused.
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