Data of nearly two million U.S. voters leaks

Shonky voting machine exposes details of 1.8 million Chicago citizens

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.

In the case of this breach, as well as others, this data was only exposed because the Amazon S3 bucket in question was configured to allow public access, permitting anyone accessing the repository's URL to download its contents. The company assured the breach did not contain ballot information or vote totals, and that it had no impact on the election. ES&S secured the files and shut down the server on August 12, one day after the leak was discovered.

It is still unknown when the files were uploaded to the unsecured server, how long the files were publicly available online or whether they were accessed by any potentially malicious actors. The company said it had "promptly secured" the files on Saturday evening and had launched "a full investigation, with the assistance of a third-party firm, to perform thorough forensic analyses of the AWS server".

Chicago's election board, meanwhile, says it is "deeply troubled" to hear of the exposure, but applauded ES&S for taking quick action.

"These back-up files had no impact on any voters' registration records and had no impact on the results of any election".


"The company is in the process of reviewing all procedures and protocols, including those of its vendors, to ensure all data and systems are secure and prevent similar situations from occurring", it said in a statement.

It's a wonder to this writer that the constant calls for things like e-voting machines continue when those in charge of securing voter data can't even do that right. "We have been in steady contact with ES&S to order and review the steps that must be taken, including the investigation of ES&S's AWS server", she said.

It's not clear whether anyone tried to steal the voter data. Perhaps most critically, the last four digits of the Social Security numbers of all 1.8 million people are also in the data set, a highly sensitive type of data often used as PIN codes or for verification purposes.

"They were charged with safeguarding the very information that we're talking about", Allen said, "so we're reevaluating the contract and we will do everything in our powers to make certain something like this never happens again". As more and more functions of daily life shift to a digital footing, so too grows the surface for a potential cyber attack, no matter whether this cyber risk is shifted off to a third-party vendor.

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