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24 Million Mortgage And Bank Loan Documents Leaked Online

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A trove of more than 24 million financial and banking documents, representing tens of thousands of loans and mortgages from some of the biggest banks in the U.S., has been found online after a server security lapse.

The server, running an Elasticsearch database, had more than a decade’s worth of data, containing loan and mortgage agreements, repayment schedules and other highly sensitive financial and tax documents that reveal an intimate insight into a person’s financial life.

But it wasn’t protected with a password, allowing anyone to access and read the massive cache of documents.

It’s believed that the database was only exposed for two weeks — but long enough for independent security researcher Bob Diachenko to find the data. At first glance, it wasn’t immediately known who owned the data. After we inquired with several banks whose customers information was found on the server, the database was shut down on January 15.

With help from TechCrunch, the leak was traced back to Ascension, a data and analytics company for the financial industry, based in Fort Worth, Texas. The company provides data analysis and portfolio valuations. Among its services, the Ascension converts paper documents and handwritten notes into computer-readable files — known as OCR.

It’s that bank of converted documents that was exposed, Diachenko said in his own write-up.

Sandy Campbell, general counsel at Ascension’s parent company, Rocktop Partners, which owns more than 46,000 loans worth $4.4 billion, confirmed the security incident to TechCrunch, but said its systems were unaffected.

“On January 15, this vendor learned of a server configuration error that may have led to exposure of some mortgage-related documents,” he said in a statement. “The vendor immediately shut down the server in question, and we are working with third-party forensics experts to investigate the situation. We are also in regular contact with law enforcement investigators and technology partners as this investigation proceeds.”

An unspecified portion of the loans were shared with the contractor for analysis, the statement added, but couldn’t immediately confirm how many loan documents were exposed.

TechCrunch has learned that the vendor is New York-based company OpticsML. Efforts to reach the company were unsuccessful. Its website is offline and its phone number was disconnected from service.

In a phone call, Campbell confirmed that the company will inform all affected customers, and report the incident to state regulators under data breach notification laws.

From our review, it was clear that the documents pertain to loans and mortgages and other correspondence from several of the major financial and lending institutions dating as far back as 2008, if not longer, including CitiFinancial, a now-defunct lending finance arm of Citigroup, files from HSBC Life Insurance, Wells Fargo, CapitalOne and some U.S. federal departments, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Some of the companies have long been defunct, after selling their mortgage divisions and assets to other companies.

Though not all files contained the highly sensitive and personal data points, we found: names, addresses, birth dates, Social Security numbers and bank and checking account numbers, as well as details of loan agreements that include sensitive financial information, such as why the person is requesting the loan.

Some of the documents also note if a person has filed for bankruptcy and tax documents, including annual W-2 tax forms, which are targets for scammers to claim false refunds.

But the database stored documents in a random order, and were not easily followable or presented in an easy to read or formatted way, making it difficult to follow from one document to another, said Diachenko.

We verified the authenticity of data by checking a portion of names in the database with public records.

“These documents contained highly sensitive data, such as Social Security numbers, names, phones, addresses, credit history and other details which are usually part of a mortgage or credit report,” Diachenko told TechCrunch. “This information would be a gold mine for cyber criminals who would have everything they need to steal identities, file false tax returns, get loans or credit cards.”

Although the documents originate from these financiers, one bank — Citi, which helped to secure the data — said it had no current relationship with the company.

“Citi recently became aware that a third party, with no connection to Citi, was storing certain mortgage origination and modification documents in an unsecure online environment,” said a Citi spokesperson. “These documents contained information about current or former Citi customers, as well as customers from other financial institutions. Citi notified law enforcement, initiated a thorough forensic investigation and worked quickly to ensure the information could no longer be publicly accessed.”

Citi confirmed that “third party is a vendor to a company that had purchased the loans and we have found no evidence that Citi’s systems were compromised.”

The bank added that it’s working to identify potentially affected customers.

Dozens of other companies are affected, including smaller regional banks and larger multinationals.

A Wells Fargo spokesperson said the data was obtained by Ascension from other entities that purchased Wells Fargo mortgages. HSBC said it was investigating if any of its customers’ data, including past customers, and confirmed it had “no vendor relationship with Ascension since 2010.” When reached, CapitalOne did not comment at the time of publication. A Housing and Urban Development spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment. The department is currently affected by the ongoing government shutdown. If anything changes, we’ll update.

It’s the latest in a series of security lapses involving Elasticsearch databases.

A massive database leaking millions of real-time SMS text message data was found and secured last year, as well as a popular massage service and, most recently, AIESEC, the largest youth-run nonprofit for working opportunities.

Updated at 5pm ET: with comment from HSBC and additional details regarding OpticsML.

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NY Online Sports Betting Bill Calls For Up To 14 Sportsbook Apps

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s proposed New York sports betting model lacks support from two lawmakers who have pushed for online gambling in the state.

Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow released their 2021 NY online sports betting bill Thursday evening, though it looks a lot like their previous attempt.

The biggest difference is the bill calls for two skins per licensee instead of one each. There are four commercial casinos and three tribes that run casinos in New York that could offer online sports betting.

That would likely create a much more robust market in terms of handle but tax revenue could fall well short of what Cuomo expects from a lottery-style monopoly.

New York sports betting bill details

Many of the details in the jointly-filed S 1183 and A 1257 are similar to the 2019-20 version of Addabbo and Pretlow’s bill:

  • A one-time, $12 million fee is required for anyone operating a mobile sportsbook in the state.
  • Mobile sports betting revenue will be taxed at 12%. The state will set aside 5% of that tax revenue for problem gambling.
  • Official league data is still required for all in-play bets. The bill also calls for a royalty fee of 0.2% of handle to be paid to sports leagues. Assuming sportsbooks hold about 5% of bets, that means about 4% of sports betting revenue to the leagues.
  • Professional sports stadiums and arenas as well as off-track betting facilities can partner with a casino to have betting kiosks on-site.

The bill summary suggests $79 million in annual revenue to the state based on “conservative market estimates.” That might not be good enough for Cuomo, though.

Cuomo expects how much?

Gov. Cuomo has much higher expectations for what the state should make from sports betting.

The US sports betting industry was surprised to wake up Wednesday to find Cuomo had changed his stance on mobile sports betting. The excitement felt throughout the industry quickly turned to jokes, though, when the governor described his plan during the Q&A portion of his coronavirus press conference:

“We want to do sports betting the way the state runs the lottery where the state gets the revenues. Many states have done sports betting but they basically allow casinos to run their own gambling operations. That makes a lot of money for casinos but it makes minimal money for the state, and I’m not here to make casinos a lot of money. I’m here to raise funds for the state.”

Budget Director Robert Mujica explained that the standard sports betting model would net New York about $50 million a year in tax revenue. But a single-operator monopoly could bring in $500 million annually, Mujica said. We won’t know any other details of the proposal until Cuomo releases his budget.

Assuming a 50-50 revenue split and a 5% hold, New York’s sports betting market would have to take $20 billion in bets annually to make the state $500 million. That’s not impossible for any of the “crown jewel” states like California, Florida, New York and Texas.

It won’t happen in year one, though, and could take significantly longer to reach those heights under a monopoly.

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Global Online Gambling Market (2020 to 2027) – Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report

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Dublin, April 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The “Online Gambling Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report by Type (Sports Betting, Casinos, Poker, Bingo), by Device (Desktop, Mobile), by Region (North America, Europe, APAC, Latin America, MEA), and Segment Forecasts, 2020 – 2027” report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s offering.

The global online gambling market size is expected to reach USD 127.3 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 11.5% from 2020 to 2027. The market is expected to gain traction over the forecast period. The growing popularity of betting across the globe and freemium model in online gambling are among the potential opportunities likely to unfold in the next few years.

Increasing adoption of smartphones and easy access to casino gaming platforms is currently driving the market. Factors such as increasing internet penetration and the availability of cost-effective mobile applications for betting are also expected to contribute to market growth over the forecast period. According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), as of 2018, approximately 2,800 sites are active online and offer activities including bingo, poker, and lottery.

Electronic Gambling Devices (EGDs) are inexpensive to run and easily available. These devices have an in-built software that mimics the experience of a local casino. For instance, a Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) uses advancing technology and can also be customized to electronic slot machines, spinning reel slot machines, video slot machines, and electronic poker games.

The spread of COVID19 has accelerated the demand for online gambling. Moreover, increasing digitalization coupled with secure digital payment options are also some factors contributing to online gambling market growth. The market is further expected to gain momentum over the forecast period attributed to the rising use of digital currency and websites provided by companies for betting and gambling.

Further key findings from the report suggest:

  • Ease of sports betting using a computer or smartphone coupled with the proliferation of sports betting ads across the globe is expected to propel segment growth over the forecast period
  • Online gambling service providers/operators are allowed to enter into agreements with individual players or customers to provide betting services for real money, in turn attracting more gamers
  • A large number of customers are using desktops for betting as downloading and installing casino software proves to be easier on desktops. This, in turn, is expected to propel the growth of the desktop segment
  • Online agencies, networks and exchanges, and third-party ad servers are used for advertising gambling websites of various companies
  • Europe is expected to continue its dominance over the forecast period. In the U.K., online gambling is legalized owing to safe practices and stringent regulations laid down by the government
  • Asia Pacific is anticipated to register the highest growth rate owing to the increased adoption of smartphones, a larger proportion of younger population, and legalization of online gambling in the region. The market size is largely influenced by the size of betting and pertinent outcome
  • Key companies in the online gambling market include William Hill PLC and Paddy Power Betfair PLC.

Key Topics Covered:

1. Methodology and Scope

2. Executive Summary
2.1 Online Gambling Market – Industry Snapshot & Key Buying Criteria, 2016 – 2027
2.2 Global Online Gambling Market, 2016 – 2027
2.2.1 Global online gambling market, by region, 2016 – 2027
2.2.2 Global online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
2.2.3 Global online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027

3. Online Gambling Industry Outlook
3.1 Market Segmentation & Scope
3.2 Market Size and Growth Prospects
3.3 Online Gambling – Value Chain Analysis
3.3.1 Vendor landscape
3.4 Online Gambling Market Dynamics
3.4.1 Market driver analysis
3.4.1.1 Increasing investment in online gambling
3.4.1.2 Growing number of live casinos across the globe
3.4.2 Market restraint analysis
3.4.2.1 Increasing rate of cybercrimes
3.5 Penetration and Growth Prospect Mapping
3.6 Online Gambling Market – Porter’s Five Forces Analysis
3.7 Online Gambling Market – Key Company Market Share Analysis, 2019
3.8 Online Gambling Market – PESTEL Analysis
3.9 Impact of COVID 19 on the Online Gambling Market

4. Online Gambling Type Outlook
4.1 Online Gambling Market Share By Type, 2019
4.2 Sports Betting
4.2.1 Sports betting online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
4.3 Casinos
4.3.1 Casinos online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
4.4 Poker
4.4.1 Poker online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
4.5 Bingo
4.5.1 Bingo online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
4.6 Others
4.6.1 Other online gambling market, 2016 – 2027

5. Online Gambling Device Outlook
5.1 Online Gambling Market Share By Device, 2019
5.2 Desktop
5.2.1 Desktop online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
5.3 Mobile
5.3.1 Online mobile gambling market, 2016 – 2027
5.4 Others
5.4.1 Other device for online gambling market, 2016 – 2027

6. Online Gambling Regional Outlook
6.1 Online Gambling Market Share by Region, 2019
6.2 North America
6.2.1 North America online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.2.2 North America online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.2.3 North America online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.2.4 U.S.
6.2.4.1 U.S. online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.2.4.2 U.S. online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.2.4.3 U.S. online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.2.5 Canada
6.2.5.1 Canada online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.2.5.2 Canada online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.2.5.3 Canada online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.3 Europe
6.3.1 Europe online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.3.2 Europe online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.3.3 Europe online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.3.4 U.K.
6.3.4.1 U.K. online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.3.4.2 U.K. online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.3.4.3 U.K. online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.3.5 Germany
6.3.5.1 Germany online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.3.5.2 Germany online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.3.5.3 Germany online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.4 Asia Pacific
6.4.1 Asia Pacific online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.4.2 Asia Pacific online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.4.3 Asia Pacific online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.4.4 China
6.4.4.1 China online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.4.4.2 China online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.4.4.3 China online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.4.5 India
6.4.5.1 India online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.4.5.2 India online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.4.5.3 India online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.4.6 Japan
6.4.6.1 Japan online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.4.6.2 Japan online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.4.6.3 Japan online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.5 Latin America
6.5.1 Latin America online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.5.2 Latin America online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.5.3 Latin America online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.5.4 Brazil
6.5.4.1 Brazil online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.5.4.2 Brazil online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.5.4.3 Brazil online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.6 MEA
6.6.1 MEA online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.6.2 MEA online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.6.3 MEA online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027

7. Competitive Landscape

7.1 William Hill PLC
7.1.1 Company overview
7.1.2 Financial performance
7.1.3 Product benchmarking
7.1.4 Strategic initiatives
7.2 Bet365 Group Ltd.
7.3 Paddy Power Betfair PLC
7.4 Betsson AB
7.5 Ladbrokes Coral Group PLC
7.6 The Stars Group Inc.
7.7 888 Holdings PLC
7.8 Sky Betting & Gaming
7.9 Kindred Group PLC
7.10 GVC Holdings PLC

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CT Governor throws support behind legal betting and igaming

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Giving his State of the State address yesterday (6 January), Lamont said 2020 had been one of the “most challenging and humbling” years of his life, due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. 

This, he said, had prompted the state to work closely with neighbours such as Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York to coordinate their response to the crisis. 

Lamont pledged to continue to leverage these relationships as part of Connecticut’s recovery from the pandemic.

He said Connecticut would work with its neighboring states and tribal partners on a path forward to “modernize gaming”, as well as working in the legislature to legalize marijuana. 

“Sports betting, internet gaming, and legalized marijuana are happening all around us,” Lamont added. “Let’s not surrender these opportunities to out-of-state markets or even worse, underground markets.”

His pledge to expand the state’s gambling market comes amid reports that Governor Andrew Cuomo is preparing to relax his stance against mobile wagering in neighbouring New York. 

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