Privacy affairs, a research company registered under Zisk Web Ltd. a private Ltd. incorporated in Romania has investigated the dark web. Specifically the part of the dark web that involves voter data to identify the US states where the voters are most sensitive and which voter databases are being sold for the highest prices. The research company has shown that information belonging to millions of US voters is indeed being sold on the dark web. Complete voter databases are being sold (and purchased) on the dark web for prices as low as USD $10.
The voters records that were hacked and now being sold off include sensitive voting information voter ID, full names, physical addresses, previous addresses, dates of birth, gender and citizen status. The leaked data even includes the voting history of an individual, meaning; Has this person voted before, in which election and what was his/her vote. This study clearly shows how easy it is for the democratic system to be compromised by these hackers and the illegally obtained voter databases.
‘Voter Files’ or how these databases are now commonly known are data sets created by election officials and government agencies to register US election votes. The files are meant to fully map all voter registration and election turnout per state. These files also include the personal information of every individual who is registered to vote and who voted in which past election. It’s not only official government or election information that is registered in these databases, data found also includes data from outside sources such as consumer data vendors, credit bureaus and political organizations.
The data discovered on the dark web by Privacy Affairs include the following:
|Florida Voter Database||12,500,000||$10|
|Alabama Hacked Voter Database||132,000||$8|
|Pennsylvania Hacked Voter Database||620,201||$10|
|Maryland Hacked Voter Database||4,200,000||$10|
|Florida 2018 Voter Database||13,939,000||$15|
|North Carolina Hacked Voter Database||8,114,000||$15|
|Washington DC Hacked Voter Database||493,000||$10|
|Ohio 2017 Hacked Voter Database||7,900,000+||$10|
|New Jersey Hacked Voter Database||5,500,000+||$10|
|Michigan Leaked Voter Database||7,400,000+||$8|
|Delaware Hacked Voter Database||645,327||$10|
|Vermont Hacked Voter Database||476,000+||$10|
|Washington Hacked Voter Database||4,400,000+||$10|
|Alaska Hacked Voter Database||487,415+||$10|
|Georgia Hacked Voter Database||6,600,000+||$10|
|Kansas Hacked Voter Database||1,800,000+||$10|
|Missouri Hacked Voter Database||4,100,000+||$10|
|Kansas 2018 Hacked Voter Database||1,822,000+||$15|
|Colorado Voter Database||3,525,000+||$8|
|Arkansas Voter Database||1,746,000+||$12|
|New York Hacked Voter Database||15,000,000+||$10|
|Connecticut Hacked Voter Database||2,300,000+||$10|
|Nevada Hacked Voter Database||1,160,000+||$10|
|Rhode Island Hacked Voter Database||740,000+||$8|
|Utah Leaked Voter Database||731,000+||$8|
|Texas Leaked Voter Database||657,695+||$10|
If you are wondering where to find these databases or what they look like, a quick search showed the following results:
According to Privacy Affairs, voter databases have been vital to serve as blueprints for “ targeting and canvassing” specific supporters of political organizations and to pinpoint potential new supporters. These databases greatly help presidential candidates in planning their political campaigns, fund raising, social media and basically every aspect of their presidential run for office.
The US government and election officials alike spent millions of dollars to protect the US citizens from their data being leaked and to block hackers from influencing the 2020 election. The White House, the government and the media all had their eyes set on voter manipulation by foreign actors but the simple access to voter databases may be a much larger threat in elections to come.
Vast amounts of voter data are already easily accessible or available for purchase, the data that is not listed as confidential by each state that is. The difference is that the US government can easily track where this data goes, how it’s being sold and used and for what purpose. Election agencies have a clear map into the data usage and who is involved in the use of that data.
On the dark web it’s a different animal entirely, there is no insight in who has the data or who uses it and most important.. for what purpose. Foreign actors can easily influence or even dictate how an election will play out with data like this. We will have to see how this unfolds in the coming years and maybe already the next US election.