The Chicago Board of Elections is investigating a data breach that exposed the personal information of every registered voter in the city.
A voting machine supplier for dozens of USA states left records on 1.8 million Americans in public view for anyone to download - after misconfiguring its AWS-hosted storage.
No ballot information or vote totals were included in the database files and the information was not connected to Chicago's voting or tabulation systems, the company said. Allen says a cybersecurity expert found the breach over the weekend and notified Chicago election officials. The biz, which supplies voting machines and backend services to more than 40 USA states, is investigating the cockup.
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The researcher found the files while conducting a search of items uploaded to Amazon Web Services, a cloud system that allows users to rent storage space and share files with certain people or the general public. 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. In addition to this sensitive information, some driver's license and state ID numbers were also released in the leak. Vickery said his firm was doing a routine research to see what information is publicly available on the Amazon cloud service.
Hackers at the Defcon security conference this year in Las Vegas tested the electronic poll book used by ES&S and were able to discover the personal records of 654,517 people who voted in Shelby County, Tennessee, including names, addresses, birthdates, and political party which should have alerted the company to flaws.
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"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", UpGuard researchers said.
Jon Hendren (security researcher at Upguard) send the cache of leaked data to Chris Vickery, an analyst who examined the data. Amazon buckets - where data is stored - are private by default. Should this access configuration be changed, the IT enterprise in question must have processes in place to ensure such exposures are caught and remediated. Authorities alerted ES&S to the leak on August 12, and the data was secured.
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