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Voting-Roll Vulnerability

By Harvard Gazette

September 13, 2017

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It is relatively easy and inexpensive for hackers to purchase sufficient personal information, via both legal and illegal means, to potentially rig online voter registration information in as many as 35 states and Washington, D.C., according to a new study from Harvard University.

The study authors say "voter identity theft" could be perpetrated by attackers attempting to disenfranchise voters where registration information can be altered online.

The researchers note datasets of voter names and demographic information such as addresses and party affiliations can be bought or downloaded, often from government websites, at reasonable prices. Commercial data brokers on the dark Web also can sell more personal information to hackers at low costs.

"If the goal is to undermine any belief in the electoral system, then [attackers] might very well want to target a particular community at large...[because] that could cause a kind of hysteria," warns Harvard professor Latanya Sweeney.

From Harvard Gazette
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