With the 2016 Presidential Elections coming up in November and new voters eligible to vote, it is safe to question the security of our personal information listed in voter registration systems in light of recent events.
First reported by Yahoo in July, a hack on the election databases in Illinois and Arizona originally occurred in June. Around 200,000 personal files were compromised due to the content of the hacked system.
The Illinois voter registration systems include names, addresses, birth dates, genders, sometimes driver’s license numbers and the last four numbers of the individual’s social security number. The database hack compromised records for 15 million people and had records dating back to 2006. Investigators are, “highly confident that nothing was changed, but the investigation is still ongoing,” Ken Menzel a member of the Board of Elections for Illinois, said.
Arizona took immediate action after being alerted by the FBI that there was a credible cyber threat to the voting systems. The state took down the voter registration offline and thouroughly investigated into the matter. After careful investigation, authorities were able to find the username and password to a county’s official election account open to the public online.
Matthew Roberts, director of communications for the Arizona Secretary of State, said there are rumors that this might be a Russian cyber attack, but none of these accusations can be confirmed.
Another possibility may be that an employee inadvertently downloaded a virus that made all of the private information public. Again, there is no hard evidence regarding this accusation.
No election ballots are connected to the internet for obvious reasons, including the extreme vulnerability the world wide web provides; hackers use the internet as easy access to personal information. Some of the concerns that this particular cyber threat holds is that the hackers might either steal people’s identities, or change the results of a ballot. With the upcoming 2016 Presidential Election, this may greatly effect the way our country led.
Again, the question stands. Is our personal information actually safe in the hands of the Board of Elections?