Data of almost 200 million voters leaked online by GOP analytics firm

Firm Contracted By RNC Left Millions Of Voter Files Unsecured Online

That someone turned out to be Chris Vickery, a cyber risk analyst at UpGuard who works with a research team to find these kinds of exposures and then alert the public.

"This disclosure dwarfs previous breaches of electoral data... exposing the personal information of over 61 percent of the entire United States population", UpGuard wrote.

The data repository was located on an Amazon Web Services S3 "bucket" named 'dra-dw, ' which stands for Deep Root Analytics Data Warehouse.

Deep Root said it believes only Vickery accessed the database during that time.

What all was exposed in this debacle? The 1.1 terabytes of data included the names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, voter registration details, and other data that tries to predict each person's likely religion and ethnicity, for around 198 million registered voters.

Deep Root said in a statement the data was exposed on June 1 when the firm updated security settings. Gizmodo reports that leaving campaign resources like this voter information unsecured is a common problem, as campaign operations often just drop everything after election day.

Because there's no evidence that the data was stolen or posted online, it doesn't seem that the affected individuals (almost everyone who was registered to vote in the 2008 and 2012 USA presidential elections) would be at greater risk of identity theft. In June 2016, he found a database of 154 million USA voter profiles on an unprotected server, and in February 2016, he found a database of 191 million voters that was traced back to the data broker NationBuilder.

The firm in question was hired by the Republican National Committee as a means of better understanding voters and thus helping them engage with voters better. The RNC paid the firm $983,000 between 2015 and 2016.

Deep Root's open data stash notably included raw text scraped from Reddit, including the now-banned subreddit r/fatpeoplehate, a popular forum with Trump's r/The_Donald Reddit base, some Spanish-speaking subreddits and at least one about mountain biking.

Information on almost 200 million voters in a Republican National Committee database was exposed after a private contractor left documents on a publicly accessible server. Voting systems in 39 states came under attack previous year by hackers linked to the Russian government.

UpGuard first discovered the files on 12 June and they were eventually secured on 14 June, after the company informed federal authorities about the accidental leak.

To read UpGuard's report in full - which is something you should absolutely do - check out the source link below.

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