RT America: US electronic voting firm exposes 1.8 million Chicago voter records

1.8 million Chicago voter records exposed online

ES&S says it was notified by UpGuard researcher Chris Vickery of the vulnerable database that contained personal information it collected from recent elections in Chicago, Illinois.

A leading U.S. supplier of voting machines confirmed on Thursday that it exposed the personal information of more than 1.8 million IL residents.

ES&S said the server did not include "any ballot information or vote totals and were not in any way connected to Chicago's voting or tabulation systems", stressing the leak had "no impact on the results of any election".

A file containing the names, addresses, dates of birth and other information about Chicago's 1.8 million registered voters was published online and publicly accessible for an unknown period of time, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners said Thursday. The company alerted election officials in Chicago on Saturday and the file was taken down three hours later. ES&S provides voting machines and services in at least 42 states.

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"Every copy of data is a liability, and as it becomes easier, faster, and cheaper to transmit, store, and share data, these problems will get worse", said Ben Johnson, chief technical officer at California-based Obsidian Security, and a Chicago voter.

A redacted image of the "dbo.voters" data set, with sensitive details redacted. As Chicago only had 1.5 million active voters as of the November 2016 election, the listing of inactive voters in this database likely accounts for the discrepancy in numbers - indicating that this most likely constitutes a comprehensive list of all of Chicago's voters. Some of the records also included drivers' licenses and state ID numbers. The leaked data was discovered by Upguard Researchers and included the information of people from Verizon and the company which analyzes GOP.

This story is developing and will be updated with more information as it becomes available. "It was a violation of our information security protocol by the vendor". The data files were then downloaded by a cyber risk analyst who pinpointed their origin. Amazon buckets - where data is stored - are private by default. Authorities alerted ES&S to the leak on August 12, and the data was secured. Once an exposure is found to have happened, it is imperative to move swiftly to foreclose upon the possibility of any exploitation of the data by malicious actors.

"For real cyber resilience to take hold, IT enterprises must begin to craft processes capable of checking and validating any such openings before it reaches the public internet, lest the barn door be closed only after the horse has bolted".

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