2.9 Million voters’ data means the entire State of Louisiana — It shows how vulnerable the US cyber infrastructure is.
In June 2016 HackRead exclusively reported about a hacker who was selling a quarter Million State of Louisiana drivers’ licence database on the Darknet. Now, a security researcher has discovered a publicly available database named ‘lavoter’ containing voters’ data of 2.9 Million Louisiana natives.
Chris Vickery, a security researcher from Mackeeper, was the one to discover the database hosted on Google Cloud IP. It had 2,919,651 records which indicate that it is the voters’ database of the entire state of Louisiana.
Upon scanning, Vickery found out that the database contains information such as full names, email addresses, details about gender and race, voter status, registration date and numbers, political party code, phone numbers, details about last vote and voting history.
Vickery didn’t share the sample data, however, he did share an official link from State of Lousiana website [PDF] that shows how the leaked voters’ files look like.
Vickery also found another database on the same server labelled as ‘ladps’ containing personal records of 6,978,508 record people. Vickery is not sure but he suspects that ‘ladps’ is possibly a short form for ”Department of Public Safety.” Nevertheless, upon scanning the database the researcher found full names, race and gender details, data of birth, addresses, details about height, weight, residence parish code, social security code numbers and driving licence numbers.
For now, both databases have been secured by the researcher. However, when looking for legal means to protect the data, Vickery found out that the State of Lousiana actually sells voters’ listings to the higher bidder.
When the MacKeeper Security Research Center was searching for the legal requirements for protecting voter data in the state of Louisiana we were shocked to discover that all voter data is for sale to basically anyone willing to pay for it. You do not even need to prove that you will use it for political purposes, research or any related election purpose. Louisiana’s system gives you the option of choosing past or present voters and you separate by various demographics (gender, race etc.), specify the party of your choice. The price for buying voter data comes out at $0.01 per name on the list, write Vickery.
This is not the first time when Vickery has found voters’ listings on the Internet. In the past, the researcher discovered 191 million US voter registration records online, but that’s not all; Vickery is the same person who found Mexico’s entire voter database (93.4 million) publicly available for anyone to access.
It is still unclear how such sensitive data can end up online but one thing is certain that cyber-infrastructure in the United States is more vulnerable than ever. Recently, US officials and security experts blamed that the Russian proxies and government are responsible for the recent surge in attacks on the presidential campaign computer networks. In fact, some security experts and even Democrats have called out to Obama administration and publicly claimed that Russia is behind these attacks. But who needs to hack when data is available online?