Chicago Election Officials Investigate After A Security Breach Involving Voter Data

Info on 1.8M Chicago voters was publicly accessible, now removed from cloud service: election officials

Info on 1.8M Chicago voters was publicly accessible, now removed from cloud service: election officials

Owned and operated by Omaha-based firm Election Systems & Software (ES&S), which helps maintain Chicago's electronic poll books, the database included voters' names, addresses, phone numbers, partial Social Security numbers, and in some cases, driver's license and state ID numbers that seemed to have been produced around the time of the November 2016 election.

The acknowledgment came days after a data security researcher alerted officials to the existence of the unsecured files.

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According to Jim Allen ( a spokesman for the Board of Election Commissioners of Chicago), the information of voters was not affected by the leak.

"We were deeply troubled to learn of this incident, and very relieved to have it contained quickly", Chicago Election Board Chairwoman Marisel A. Hernandez said in a statement. A security researcher from UpGuard discovered the breach. "It was a violation of our information security protocol by the vendor".

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Researchers at the security company UpGuard, Director of Strategy Jon Hendren and Director of Cyber Risk Research Chris Vickery, made the discovery on Friday of last week. Forensic experts are investigating the ES&S leak.

After UpGuard's director of Cyber Risk Research Chris Vickery analysed the data, local and IL state authorities were notified. Amazon buckets - where data is stored - are private by default. Strangely, only Chicago's data was exposed by a misconfiguration. "This data would be an identity thief's dream to find", Vickery told CNN Tech. He also added that the leaked information contained the administration credentials of the voting.

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A suppler of U.S. voting machines has confirmed a major data leak that has seen the details of more than 1.8 million voters in the state of IL exposed. It also recently discovered critical infrastructure data exposed by a Texas energy firm. Vickery said when he devotes one day to looking for exposed servers, he finds dozens of data breaches. "And until this happened, we had no idea that it even existed", he said. "System administrators leaving things open and exposed to the public internet is like a cancer on security".

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