A misconfiguration in the search tool on the city of Columbia, S.C. website had a security flaw that could have exposed database and SMPT server passwords.
Independent Researcher Arif Khan discovered the flaw in the fall and began trying to contact the city to disclose, tweeting in November, “Hi @CityofColumbia, A security issue has been detected in your website, can you contact me in private?”
When a user searched for something that the tool couldn’t find, it responded with a 404 error page – intended for developers – that revealed the passwords, according to a CNET report.
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