Researchers: Millions of detailed voter records found unprotected on the internet


The personal information of nearly all of America’s 200 million registered voters was left unprotected in an online database discovered last week by a cybersecurity firm in what the company described as the “largest known data exposure of its kind.”

>> Read more trending news

The database, owned by Republican data firm Deep Root Analytics, included names, dates of birth, home addresses, phone numbers, voter registration details and “data described as ‘modeled’ voter ethnicities and religions,” according to UpGuard, the firm that uncovered the information.

“Along with home addresses, birth dates and phone numbers, the records include advanced sentiment analyses used by political groups to predict where individual voters fall on hot-button issues such as gun ownership, stem cell research and the right to abortion, as well as suspected religious affiliation and ethnicity,” reported Gizmodo, which also reviewed the data.

In all, it encompassed 1.1 terabytes of information covering 198 million potential voters.

"With this data, you can target neighborhoods, individuals, people of all sorts of persuasions," Chris Vickery, the UpGuard cyber risk researcher who discovered the database, told The Washington Post. "I could give you the home address of every person the RNC believes voted for Trump."

Vickery found the database while searching for vulnerable data sources online as part of his job. It was not clear whether anyone other than Vickery downloaded the information, or how long it was online and unprotected.

"What is alarming about this now is that I believe it's the first time RNC IDs and model data have been exposed," veteran GOP political data strategist Matt Oszcowski told The Post. "This is not just a list of people; this is unique proprietary information which gives away (Republican) strategy and informs on targeting and methodology."

In a statement released to Gizmodo, Deep Root founder Alex Lundry said the company took responsibility for the mistake and said it happened when the company updated its security settings on June 1. Vickery found the information on June 12.

“Since this event has come to our attention, we have updated the access settings and put protocols in place to prevent further access,” Lundry told Gizmodo. “Based on the information we have gathered thus far, we do not believe that our systems have been hacked.”

Read more on UpGuard.com


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Father’s heart-warming talk with emotional 6-year-old daughter goes viral
Father’s heart-warming talk with emotional 6-year-old daughter goes viral

A video of an Ohio man consoling his daughter has gone viral with its positive message. Randy Gaines of Kettering didn't know his wife, Deceena Gaines, was recording him at the time, but neither of them knew the video was going to reach over 3.2 million views by Monday afternoon.  On Dec. 2, Gaines found his 6-year-old daughter upset in her room...
Trump signs directive to send Americans back to the moon, eventually Mars
Trump signs directive to send Americans back to the moon, eventually Mars

President Donald Trump signed a new space mandate at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon, announcing his administration’s intent to send American astronauts back to the moon and eventually to Mars.  Space Policy Directive 1 “will refocus America’s space program on human exploration and discovery,” Trump said during...
Officials: Targeting welfare programs will help spur economic growth
Officials: Targeting welfare programs will help spur economic growth

Some House Republicans believe that Congress should cut Americans off government anti-poverty programs in part to help grow the national economy. “For us to achieve 3 percent GDP growth over the next 10 years from tax reform, we have to have welfare reform. We need people who are mentally and physically able to work to get into the workforce...
Trump to pitch tax plan; Treasury offers rosy estimate
Trump to pitch tax plan; Treasury offers rosy estimate

President Donald Trump on Wednesday will try to sell the American people on an unpopular Republican tax overhaul that his administration claims will generate a large part of $1.8 trillion in new revenue — a figure that a top Democratic lawmaker dismissed as “fake math.” The White House said Monday that Trump’s pitch will focus...
From Weinstein to Lauer: A timeline of 2017’s sexual harassment scandals
From Weinstein to Lauer: A timeline of 2017’s sexual harassment scandals

In October, the New York Times published allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Since then, multiple high-profile men in media, politics and other industries have faced allegations ranging from inappropriate behavior to forced sexual misconduct to rape. Some, but not all, have been ousted...
More Stories