Voter information for millions of Americans is being offered for free on a Russian hacking website, the Moscow-based business newspaper Kommersant reported earlier this week. Kommersant reportedly found a database containing information on 7.6 million registered voters in Michigan being advertised on a Russian hacking forum on the darknet. The forum touted that the data contains birthdates, addresses, voter identification number and polling station numbers, according to the newspaper.
Russian security firm Infowatch confirmed the authenticity of the database to Kommersant and determined it was first leaked in late 2019, the newspaper reported. Other databases being offered on the site contain voter information for residents of Connecticut, Arkansas, Florida and North Carolina, according to the newspaper.
The reports have not been corroborated by individual states, though state officials in Florida previously acknowledged at least two counties had their networks compromised leading up to the 2016 election.
“It's remarkably easy to get one's hands on voter databases in most states. Many of them are available to the public, including Michigan. Even though there are rules about how the data can be used, rules can be broken," noted Paul Bischoff, privacy advocate with Comparitech. "Those who legitimately request receive voter data are responsible for securing it, and not everyone has the same standards of security. I wouldn't be surprised if we see more voter databases in the hands of foreign threat actors before the 2020 general election.”