Sign in

GOP data firm causes largest US voter data leak to date

By: Lisa Marlin

June 21, 2017

Political data of 198 million US citizens was exposed this month after a marketing firm contracted by the Republican National Committee stored internal documents on a publicly accessible Amazon server.

Gizmodo reported on a blog post by IT Security company UpGuard which revealed the largest US voter data leak to date. Deep Root Analytics, a conservative data firm that identifies audiences for political ads, confirmed ownership of the data to Gizmodo on Friday.

Stu Sjouwerman, Founder and CEO, KnowBe4, Inc, wrote that “voter data on 198 million US Citizens was improperly stored and freely available for 12 days on the internet. There has never been a data breach this big. The information includes birthdates, home addresses, telephone numbers, political views, suspected religious affiliations, ethnicities, where they stood on topics like gun control, the right to abortion and stem cell research.”

According to the Gizmodo report, Deep Root Analytics, a conservative data firm that identifies audiences for political ads, confirmed ownership of the data. UpGuard cyber risk analyst Chris Vickery discovered Deep Root’s data online last week. More than a terabyte was stored on the cloud server without the protection of a password and could be accessed by anyone who found the URL.

Experts say the exposure of these files in a single open database raises significant privacy concerns. “This is valuable for people who have nefarious purposes,” Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, said of the data.

In a statement, Deep Root founder Alex Lundry told Gizmodo is company takes full responsibility for the situation and that access settings have been updated and protocols put in place to prevent further access. Lundry also said his company did not believe that their systems have been hacked.

While there is no proof he’s right about that, the incident should serve as proof to you that security awareness training is imperative. We can help with that. Contact the HIPAA experts at PrivaPlan today at info@privaplan.com or call 877-218-7707.