Chris Vickery, an independent computer security researcher has stumbled across a database of information about 191 million US voters exposed publicly on the Internet on Monday. Vickery says he found the database while he was sifting through the web for exposed information in a bid to raise awareness about data leaks.
The information is apparently public because of an incorrectly configured database. The whole set contains personal information of all the voters of the US including their names, addresses, birth dates, party affiliations, phone numbers and emails. Its discoverer said that he cannot pinpoint exactly who owns and controls the data and if anyone else had accessed the information before him.
Vickery is currently working with federal authorities in the US to find the owner so they can remove it from public view.
This amount of concentrated information about citizens is very time consuming and difficult to gather and in the wrong hands, it could lead to serious crisis.
The law in the US generally treats voter data as public information, but in this situation, the database could be very dangerous as it contains personal information of citizens of all 50 states in the US and Washington, according to Vickery,
Federal authorities of the US are, for now, tight lipped about the issue, but they too seem to be considering Vickery’s findings quite troubling. The database leak was first brought into public attention by CSO Online and Databreaches.net, computer and privacy news sites that Vickery said helped him attempt to locate the database’s owner.
CSO Online believe that the data may have come from campaign software provider NationBuilder. This is due to the fact that the leak included data codes similar to those used by the Los Angeles baseed firm. NationBuilder CEO later commented that the database was not completely created by the company, but that some of its information may have come from data it freely supplies to political campaigns.