As Election Day in the United States begins, a data pool containing information on dozens of millions of American voters up for sale on the Darknet has been revealed. The data pool includes information about voters from 17 states, with details on more than 62 million Americans.
The data pool was uncovered by Israeli cybersecurity company ClearSky. It is up for sale on one of the biggest markets on the Darknet -- the Dream Market" -- and is divided into states.
For example, the pool on voters in Arkansas, which has information on 1.7 million voters, is offered for sale for $10.39 or 0.001647 bitcoin. The data pool includes details such as voters' full names, their IDs, their current and past addresses, their dates of birth, gender and telephone numbers. The description of the data notes that as soon as payment for it is provided, if the buyer is unhappy he or she will have the payment refunded.
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Boaz Dolev, the CEO of ClearSky, explains that as early as June of this year, concerns arose that the data pool on American voters had been leaked to the web, but that it was not made available for purchase immediately.
Last week, ahead of the U.S. midterm elections and as part of the company's tracking activities against ongoing cyber threats, ClearSky discovered the data pool on one of the Darknet's biggest stores.
"We provide focused alerts to entities in Israel and abroad, and in order to do that, we have to track attackers through a variety of methods. As part of our tracking, we monitor markets where cyberattackers try to market their dubious goods, and that's how we found the data pool on American voters ahead of Election Day. The data are fairly up-to-date. Some were last updated in 2017 and some in 2015," Dolev says.
The Darknet store offers a data pool on voters in Connecticut, New York, Washington, New Jersey and other states. Aside from showcasing personal information, it also details each voter's political opinions and states whether the voter sides with the Republicans or Democrats.
According to Dolev, this revelation is also relevant to Israel. "It seems that there's a serious issue over protecting voters' personal information around the world," he said. "Only recently, during the municipal elections in Israel, we saw how dozens of text messages that originated from campaign headquarters of different candidates find their way onto the smartphones of every citizen. Campaign headquarters have data pools where, according to our assessment, information from different data pools is corroborated. The result is that there are concentrated attempts to alter people's votes by sending them false information, incitement and ads."
Dolev warns that entities in charge of protecting the privacy of civilians have to act faster and more aggressively, otherwise "we will witness many other cases like this. Our personal details, which are being gathered by companies as well as the state, can be used not only by political elements that want to influence potential voters but also by dark or hostile entities. That's why defense at the highest level is necessary, as well as actions by law enforcement," Dolev explained.
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