The largest leak of voter-related data was discovered last week, the result of faulty security practices and a lack of basic protection.
An exposed server containing the records was discovered by UpGuard cyber risk analyst Chris Vickery last week. Before the server could be secured, Vickery discovered that the vulnerable server contained voting records and information of as many as 198 million Americans.
The data, which was collected on approximately 61 percent of Americans, contained home addresses, birth dates, phone numbers, and much more. The data also provided insider information on where the voters stand on many political issues, like gun control and abortion access.
The server belonged to a Republican data analytics firm, Deep Root Analytics. Deep Roots was contracted by the RNC to store internal documents in the party’s fundraising arm. Deep Roots then stored that data on a publicly accessible server on Amazon.
Deep Root Analytics is a media analytic firm which helps advertisers target their products to consumers most effectively. So far, the company has not issued a public statement on the discovered vulnerability on their server.
When the server was discovered, not even a password was required to sift through the trove of personal data. Since its discovery, the server has been secured, but there is no telling how long the massive trove of voter files were vulnerable to probe by any curious party.
As issues of cybersecurity and hacking continue to plague American politics, it seems more important than ever that any and all records associated with voting should be given the utmost protection. Instead, the voting records and voting tendencies of nearly 200 Americans was left out in the open.
From the DNC hack to the ongoing investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election, security online appears poised to be a key issue in American politics in the coming years.