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A Google software problem inadvertently exposed the names, addresses, email addresses and phone numbers used to register websites after people had chosen to keep the information private.

The privacy breach involves whois, a database that contains contact information for people who've bought domain names. For privacy reasons, people can elect to make information private, often by paying an extra fee.

Craig Williams, senior technical leader for Cisco's Talos research group who discovered the issue, said the data will make it easier for cybercriminals to draft phishing emails that try to trick victims into divulging information or clicking on malicious links.

he cybercriminals are "going to have the right website name, the right name, the right address, the right phone number, the right email," he said.

Cisco said in a blog post that some 282,867 domains were affected. Williams stumbled across the problem last month while doing research on domains associated with malware.

The privacy settings for domain names registered through the company eNom were being turned off right at the time when the domains were up for renewal, starting around mid-2013.

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News Sources:

http://www.csoonline.com/article/2895891/privacy/google-error-leaks-website-owners-personal-information.html