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Millions of voter records for sale on 'dark web'

Published on October 22, 2020 8:28 AM
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Hackers are selling detailed information about tens of millions of American voters and consumers on the "dark web," underscoring vulnerabilities ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election, according to a new cybersecurity analysis.

Trustwave, a Chicago-based cybersecurity company that monitors the dark web for threats, said in the report it discovered "massive databases with detailed information about U.S. voters and consumers offered for sale on several hacker forums."

Those databases contain records revealing "a shocking level of detail" about citizens, including their political affiliations. One seller said their database included 186 million records -- which, if correct, would mean it contains information about nearly every registered voter in the United States, Trustwave said.

Another seller claimed their consumer database contained 245 million records, which would be nearly the entire U.S. population.

"Cybercriminals have figured out ways to monetize the upcoming elections using information from data leaks and publicly available sources and are actively shopping them for profit," the firm wrote.

"The information found in the voter database can be used to conduct effective social engineering scams and spread disinformation to potentially impact the elections, particularly in swing states.

"In the right hands, this voter and consumer information can easily be used for geo-targeted disinformation campaigns over social media, email phishing, and text and phone scams."

Much voter data is already publicly available, but the report said their compilation into large, readily usable databases is troublesome. Some consumer records also listed citizens of other countries, including Britain, Canada, Ireland and South Africa.

Trustwave said having names, addresses, age, gender, and political affiliations can be useful for "all sorts of scams" and can "target voters based on their voting history."

"Databases found here may be given for free or sold. Databases are typically sold for a few hundred dollars, up to a thousand dollars, payable in bitcoins," the firm said.

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