First and last names. Recent addresses and phone numbers. Party affiliation. Voting history and demographics.
A database of this information from 191 million voter records was posted online over the last week, the latest example of voter data becoming freely available, alarming privacy experts who say the information can be used for phishing attacks, identity theft and extortion. The information is no longer publicly accessible.
It is not known who built the database, where all the data came from, and whether its disclosure resulted from an inadvertent release or from hacks. The disclosure was discovered by an information technology specialist, Chris Vickery, and the findings were published on databreaches.net. The federal authorities were alerted to possible concerns about security and the legality of what was done.
NationBuilder, a nonpartisan political data firm, has said it may have been the source of some of the data, although the actual database that was released was not the company’s.
“The reality is there’s a tremendous amount of data that’s freely available,” said Craig Spiezle, the executive director of the Online Trust Alliance. “For candidates, it’s what doors to knock on. For cybercriminals, it’s identifying a higher network of targets.”