Economy

Shonky voting machine exposes details of 1.8 million Chicago citizens

Shonky voting machine exposes details of 1.8 million Chicago citizens”

An election systems company accidentally left personal information on what appeared to be almost 2 million current and former Chicago voters online without any form of security. Authorities alerted ES&S to the leak on August 12, and the data was secured.

The data did not contain any voting information, like the results of how someone voted.

"We were deeply troubled to learn of this incident, and very relieved to have it contained quickly", said Chicago Election Board Chairwoman Marisel A. Hernandez.

"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.

The firm is also now reviewing all procedures and protocols, including those of its vendors, to make sure that its systems and data are secured and prevent any similar incidents in the future.

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Forensic experts are investigating the ES&S leak. Anyone who knew the web address would have access to the files.

Security researchers from UpGuard spotted the issue with voting machine supplier Election Systems & Software (ES&S) when it found backup files of voter info on an Amazon web server.

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. As Gizmodo exclusively reported, the hackers discovered loaded on the device the personal records of 654,517 people who voted in Shelby County, Tennessee, including names, addresses, birthdates, and political party.

Researchers at UpGuard are responsible for discovering a number of major data leaks from publicly available databases online, including millions of people's information from a GOP analytics company and Verizon. Some are not as big as schematics on energy companies or millions of partial social security numbers, but he said it's something companies need to be much more aware of. "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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