A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky one of 19 states whose ‘hacked’ voter information is being sold on Dark Web

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Kentucky is one of 19 states whose voter information is being sold on the Dark Web, according to a report by a website that covers news for IT professionals and decision-makers.

ZDNet reported Monday afternoon voter information for approximately 35 million U.S. citizens is being peddled on a popular hacking forum.

”To our knowledge this represents the first reference on the criminal underground of actors selling or distributing lists of 2018 voter registration data,” said researchers from Anomali Labs and Intel471, the two companies who spotted the forum ad, told ZDNet.

The two companies said they’ve reviewed a sample of the database records and determined the data to be valid with a “high degree of confidence.”

Researchers told ZDNet the data contains details such as full name, phone numbers, physical addresses, voting history, and other voting-related information. It is worth noting that some states consider this data public and offer it for download for free, but not all states have this policy.

In addition to Kentucky, which the hacker is selling for $2,000, the other states advertised were:

Montana, Louisiana, Iowa, Utah, Oregon South Carolina, Wisconsin, Kansas, Georgia, New Mexico, Minnesota, Wyoming, Idaho, Tennessee, South Dakota, Mississippi, West Virginia and Texas.

Prices ranged from $150 for Minnesota to $12,500 for Wisconsin.

Before the new post advertising voter records from 19 states, the hacker also shared voter records on his forum from five other states: Connecticut, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Washington.

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes issued a statement Monday afternoon, saying she is working with the state’s election integrity partners, including the Department of Homeland Security, to investigate the matter.

“The revelation that this data is being peddled on the Dark Web and could potentially fall into the hands of bad actors greatly concerns me and should every Kentuckian,” she said. 

“Let me be clear: as the Commonwealth’s chief election official, protecting our elections and Kentucky voters’ data remains my highest priority. It is why I have repeatedly called for more oversight over the State Board of Elections, not less.

“At this time, I have no reason to believe Kentucky’s voter registration system has been compromised. This incident, however, underscores the serious need to ensure our staff are not releasing information in the public domain which weaken Kentucky’s cybersecurity efforts and that the Board must move quickly to put in place new defenses under our Help America Vote Act plan.”

Earlier on Monday, Grimes’ Election Integrity Task Force gathered for their pre-election meeting in Frankfort.

The task force includes representatives of the two U S. Attorneys offices in Kentucky, the FBI, federal and state Homeland Security, the Kentucky Attorney General’s office, Kentucky State Police, and its newest member, the Kentucky National Guard.

The Kentucky National Guard will give some added election security to the Nov. 6 general election, said Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Grimes said the National Guard offers a huge benefit to the state in terms of cyber protection “because they are here in the commonwealth and can work closely in conjunction with myself, the State Board of Elections, and especially our federal partners, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI.”

The Guard can also aid cybersecurity in elections that don’t feature federal offices, such as 2019, when there are races for governor and other constitutional offices, according to Grimes.

Grimes established the Election Integrity Task Force shortly after taking office, nearly seven years ago.

Anyone who spots what they believe is illegal activity during the campaigns or on Election Day itself can call the Election Fraud hotline at (800) 328-VOTE (8683).

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One Comment

  1. Johnny Embry says:

    I fully agree ,Something must be done about this, I am personally supporting Stephen Knipper for secretary state who has an IT background to help Fix this problem!

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