The personal information of every registered Chicago voter was likely exposed in a data breach discovered recently. More than 1.8 million people are thought to be affected and the Chicago Board of Elections is investigating. Along with a handful of other sensitive personal information, the voter rolls contained the last four digits of voters’ Social Security numbers.
Data breaches that involve Social Security numbers — or even part of your Social Security number — are considered the most egregious because of all the things someone can do with your Social Security number. If an identity thief gets a hold of your Social Security number, they can use it to open up bank accounts and sign up for credit cards, which they quickly max out and leave you hanging with the bill.
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So what other information was contained in the voter rolls?
- Dates of birth
- State ID numbers
- Phone numbers
According to Elections Spokesman Jim Allen, an outside vendor is to blame. Omaha-based voting machine firm Election Systems & Software put the information on an unsecure server, a cloud-based storage site that was available to anyone to download, according to UpGuard’s Cyber Risk Team, who discovered the data and posted about it here.
“This data exposure highlights the continuing danger of sensitive voter information being exposed to the public internet by third-party vendors hired by party organizations and electoral supervisors to assist in their efforts.”
The Chicago Board of Elections is “evaluating” its contract with Election Systems & Software according to Allen.
“They were charged with safeguarding the very information that we’re talking about,” Allen was quoted as saying in this Northern Public Radio story.
Have you been a victim of a data breach?