Security Researcher Unveils Risks of Invoice Fraud and Cyber Crime in Database Exposures at Patties Foods Limited

The recent discovery by a security researcher has revealed two critical database exposures at Patties Foods Limited (PFL), an Australian food company. These databases, which were publicly accessible and not password protected, pose significant risks for invoice fraud and cyber crime.

The first exposed database was an unsecured logging server containing 496,296 records. These logs detailed a variety of information, including system errors, warnings, indexing operations, search queries, cluster health status, and other diagnostic data. More alarmingly, the logs included internal, customer, and vendor emails, creating a substantial risk of cyber crime and potential misuse of sensitive information. Within these logs, the researcher also found references to a separate exposed cloud storage database containing 25,800 invoices and distribution records in .pdf and .xls formats. This database held crucial financial documents, making it a prime target for invoice fraud.

Risks of Invoice Fraud and Cyber Crime

The exposure of these internal documents opens the door to numerous cyber security threats:

  1. Invoice Fraud:
    • Cyber criminals could use the exposed invoices to create fraudulent invoices, tricking businesses into paying for goods or services they never received.
    • Fraudsters could also alter existing invoices, changing payment details to redirect funds to their accounts.
  2. Phishing Attacks:
    • The leaked emails provide valuable information for targeted phishing attacks. Cyber criminals could impersonate vendors or employees to deceive recipients into revealing sensitive information or making unauthorized payments.
  3. Identity Theft:
    • Exposure of internal and vendor emails could lead to identity theft, where criminals use the information to assume identities and commit various types of fraud.
  4. Corporate Espionage:
    • Competitors or malicious actors could exploit the exposed diagnostic data to gain insights into Patties Foods’ operations, potentially leading to competitive disadvantages or sabotage.

Patties Foods Limited: Founded in 1966, Patties Foods Limited is a leading Australian food company known for its wide range of products, including meat pies, sausage rolls, pastries, desserts, and frozen fruits. The company prides itself on quality and trust, making this data exposure particularly concerning. The databases were managed by, a service provider that offers AI-powered productivity solutions for the supply chain back-office. services many well-known Australian companies, emphasizing the broad impact of such exposures. admitted the vulnerability but denied that it constituted a data breach, stating, “While there was a vulnerability, we have no evidence of unauthorized access or malicious use of the data.”

The incident report published by Website Planet highlights the severe risks associated with exposed internal documents. The potential for invoice fraud, phishing attacks, identity theft, and corporate espionage underscores the necessity for robust data security measures. As investigations proceed, both Patties Foods Limited and are expected to face increased scrutiny from regulatory bodies and the public.

The discovery serves as a critical reminder of the vulnerabilities within digital infrastructures and the urgent need for stringent data protection practices to safeguard against the growing threat of cyber crime.