In what is being described as the largest known exposure of voter information in history, security firm UpGuard has announced that on the evening of June 12, they discovered that the personal information of nearly ALL of America’s registered voters was exposed – and it wasn’t the Russians who did it.
A firm contracted by the Republican National Committee, Deep Root Analytics, carelessly stored personal information of more than 198 million registered U.S. voters on a publicly accessible cloud server, an Amazon Web Services S3 bucket, lacking any security protection, according to the UpGuard report.
“Anyone with an internet connection could have accessed the Republican data operation used to power Donald Trump’s presidential victory, simply by navigating to a six-character Amazon subdomain: “dra-dw”.
Personal data exposed included names, dates of birth, home addresses, phone numbers, voter ethnicities and religions, in what UpGuard said is the largest known data exposure of its kind.
Additional information exposed on voters included whether they were on a federal “Do Not Call” list, where they stand on issues such as abortion and gun control, and whether they voted for Obama in 2012.
In all, three firms were involved – all hired by the RNC – Deep Root Analytics, TargetPoint and Data Trust – who the Trump 2016 general election campaign were relying on for voter data.
When UpGuard discovered the exposed data on June 12, they reportedly found spreadsheets last updated in January 2017 which contained a “treasure trove” of information used by the Trump campaign, and said it had been left exposed for an unknown period of time.
A total of 1.1 terabytes of data – equal to about 500 hours worth of video – or 10 billion pages of text – was fully downloadable, UpGuard reported. In addition, a large cache of Reddit posts was included as well.
After federal authorities were notified, the data was secured on June 14.
“That such an enormous national database could be created and hosted online, missing even the simplest of protections against the data being publicly accessible, is troubling. The ability to collect such information and store it insecurely further calls into question the responsibilities owed by private corporations and political campaigns to those citizens targeted by increasingly high-powered data analytics operations,” UpGuard reported.
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