Internet privacy researchers at vpnMentor have discovered a data breach in point-of-sale software used in the cannabis industry
The team, led by Noam Rotem and Ran Locar, identified an unsecured data repository owned by THSuite, which contained sensitive data from numerous marijuana dispensaries across the United States.
Among the leaked data were names, addresses, government and employee IDs and further personally identifiable information.
THSuite offers software to cannabis dispensaries across the US. In order to comply with state laws, dispensaries have to collect a large amount of data from each individual transacting.
The THSuite platform is used to manage all of this data, plugging into each state’s traceability system through an API, making the process quicker and easier.
Over 85,000 files were found to have been leaked in the data breach, 30,000 of which included sensitive, personally identifiable information. According to vpnMentor, the leak also included scanned government and company IDs.
In a blogpost detailing the report, vpnMentor said: “The leaked bucket contained so much data that it wasn’t possible for us to examine all the records individually.
“In the sample of entries we checked, we found information related to three marijuana dispensaries in different locations around the US.”
Amedicanna Dispensary, Bloom Medicinals and Colorado Grow Company were among the worst-hit companies, but the breach affected many more dispensaries. vpnMentor even goes so far as to say that it is possible for all THSuite clients and customers to have had their data leaked.
“As a result of this data breach, sensitive personal information was exposed for medical marijuana patients, and possibly for recreational marijuana users as well. This raises some serious privacy concerns.
“Medical patients have a legal right to keep their medical information private for good reason. Patients whose personal information was leaked may face negative consequences both personally and professionally.
Under HIPAA regulations, vpnMentor state that it is a federal crime in the US for a health service provider to expose personal information. Violations can result in fines of up to $50,000 for each leaked record.
There is still a stigma around cannabis use. Some workplaces even prohibit it entirely. vpnMentor fears that individuals using cannabis either recreationally or for medical purposes may face consequences at their place of work, or even at home.
vpnMentor has contacted THSuite. At the time of publication, they had not yet received a reply.