As if the presidential election wasn't already considered a circus. It's now being revealed that more than 154 million voters have had sensitive information stolen in a massive breach.
When you head down to the polls, the security of your private information is the last thing on your mind. Instead, your head is probably swimming with all of the campaign ads that you've seen over the past year. You're filtering through them, trying to decide which candidates can do the most for our country.
That's already enough to worry about. So when reports of leaked voter records surface, it's likely the last thing you want to hear. But that's what is happening. Earlier this year, a database with around 191 million voter records was hacked and released online.
This list included personal details for millions of voters, including their names, addresses, political affiliation, phone numbers and voting history.
Another breach was also reported where the records of 54 million voters were compromised. Fortunately, the source of these leaks was eventually identified, and the breaches themselves were contained.
This week, however, yet another breach was discovered - this time involving around 154 million voter records. What's shocking about this particular breach is the amount of information that was included.
Things such as gun ownership, religious beliefs, household income level and ethnicity were obtained by the hackers from this database, along with the information (such as names and addresses) previously mentioned.
The breach is believed to be linked in some way to a company called L2, which specializes in voter data utilization. However, because of the way these databases are stored, researchers have a difficult task of tracking down who owns them. This is because these databases have no ownership identification, which means security experts are unsure who to notify that the breach has occurred.
L2's CEO has been notified that these records are likely the source of the breach, and the company has taken the appropriate steps to secure their databases.
However, it's important to note that the containment of the breach does not secure the information that was stolen. As we're seeing in the case of the attempted password hack at GoToMyPC, criminals purchase this information from the Dark Web and use it to conduct further attacks.
How to protect yourself:
If you believe your personal information may have been compromised, here are some simple steps you can take to keep yourself safe:
- Keep an eye on your credit reports. If there's anything fishy going on, contact your bank or credit card provider and don't be afraid to freeze your accounts.
- Keep an eye on your email accounts and personal mail, too. Scammers can use the information they've obtained for phishing scams.
- Change your passwords for all of your online accounts, especially anywhere you've used references to data hackers may have obtained through a breach.