Millions of US voter files left unsecured online

Technology > Security

Keeping digital information secure online is a major concern nowadays--not just in the field of finance but in politics as well after a database of information on 198 million Americans was obtained by a security researcher, who found it on an Amazon server, with not even a single password protecting it.

Chris Vickery, a cyber-risk analyst with the firm UpGuard, discovered the extensive database that  included home addresses, birth dates and phone numbers of voters from Republican and Democratic parties.

The data was compiled by Deep Root Analytics, which advises campaigns on political TV advertising and was contracted by the Republican National Committee.

In a statement to National Public Radio (NPR), Deep Root said it has updated the access settings and put protocols in place after the data breach to prevent further access. The company said it had last evaluated and updated its security settings on June 1, suggesting that access settings were changed later.

“We do not believe that our systems have been hacked," Deep Root said in a statement, adding that Vickery was "the only entity that we are aware of that had access to the data."

The unprotected data included information on voters' positions on issues from gun ownership to abortion as well as religious affiliation and ethnicity. It was amassed from public sources as well as less public ones.  

Cybersecurity played a big role in the 2016 presidential campaign — with Republicans mostly pointing fingers at Democrats. The hacking of emails from the DNC and Clinton campaign manager John Podesta became a major pre-election controversy. Intelligence officials blamed the hacking on Russia.  This indirectly set in motion the current investigation of Russian meddling into the 2016 election and possible Trump campaign officials' ties to Russia.

Source: wikimedia commons Author: Republican Party