Data on 198 Million US Voters Exposed, Largest Disclosure to Date

Firm Contracted By RNC Left Millions Of Voter Files Unsecured Online

The data leak contains a wealth of personal information on roughly 61 percent of the U.S. population. A terabyte of completely unsecured data was found stored in the public cloud in an Amazon Web Services S3 bucket, accessible to anyone with an internet connection that navigated to the correct subdomain.

Other voter databases exposed in the past two years include the ones belonging to the Philippines (55 million) and Turkey (50 million), both leaked online by hackers after breaching national voter systems.

The huge cache of data was discovered last week by Chris Vickery, a cyber-risk analyst with security firm UpGuard. The amount of information exposed by the incident is tremendous and it gives a fascinating insight into the targeting of voters in the run-up to the election.

The database included a wealth of information attached to 61 percent of the US population including their names, dates of birth, home addresses, phone numbers and voter registration details such as the political party they are registered with.

The personal data of potential voters is incredibly useful to those running political campaigns and millions of dollars are spent on analyzing the information to help win presidential elections.

In a statement released to Gizmodo, Deep Root founder Alex Lundry said the company took responsibility for the mistake and said it happened when the company updated its security settings on June 1.

According to Lundry, the voter modeling information that was also contained on the server was used to "enhance advertiser understanding of TV viewership".

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That makes it the largest leak of voter data of all time.

Deep Root had all of this data because it was helping the Republican Nation Committee better target its 2016 campaign for the US Presidency.

The unprotected data included information on voters' positions on issues from gun ownership to abortion as well as religious affiliation and ethnicity. The files also contain the 32-character RNC ID's assigned to each voter, meaning that those accessing the database can easily tie available data back to the real names of voters.

The data were kept on an Amazon cloud account that could be accessed without a password.

"In terms of the scope and depth, this is the biggest one I've found", said Vickery.

Each record lists a voter's name, date of birth, home address, phone number, and voter registration details, such as which political party a person is registered with.

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. The exposure of the data, has been widely reported as the largest leak of voter information in history.

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