According to Mexican law, it’s illegal to use voter records for personal gain
MongoDB poorly configurated exposed million records, once again data of voters are left accessible online. This time, the popular researcher Chris Vickery has discovered on Amazon’s AWS online a 132 GB database containing 93.4 million Mexican voter records. The archive went online for at least eight days after Vickery discovered it.
Given that the database has been online since September 2015, it isn’t clear how many people have accessed the records. Additionally, the actual owner of the account hosting the data remains unknown.
Vickery, who worked with Salted Hash and Databreaches.net, discovered the MongoDB archive on April 14, but as he explained, it was difficult to track down the responsible for the accidental leaks despite he reported the issue to the U.S. State Department and to the Mexican Embassy.
“There was no password or authentication of any sort required. It was configured purely for public access. Why? I have no clue.” states the post published by Chris Vickery.
“After reporting the situation to the US State Department, DHS, the Mexican Embassy in Washington, the Mexican Instituto Nacional Electoral (INE), and Amazon, the database was finally taken offline April 22nd, 2016.”
Giving a close look at the records in the archive, the expert discovered it contains all of the information that Mexican citizens need for their government-issued photo IDs that allow them to vote.
The records include the voter’s name, home address, birthdate, national identification numbers, and other info.
“The Mexican Elections Commissioner has confirmed that the database is authentic. The data is now secured but the real question is who else had access to this sensitive information, and who put it on a US-based Amazon cloud server?” said Vickery.
Despite the database was pulled offline earlier this morning, it isn’t clear who accessed it.The last time data was available online it was in the hands of a US company.
“Under Mexican law this data is strictly confidential, carrying a penalty of up to 12 years in prison for transfer or extraction for personal gain. The Mexican Elections Commissioner has confirmed that the database is authentic. The data is now secured but the real question is who else had access to this sensitive information, and who put it on a US-based Amazon cloud server?” said Vickery.
Vickery explained that in 2003,data broker ChoicePoint was commissioned by the U.S. government to obtain more than 65 million records on registered Mexican voters, and six million drivers in Mexico City.
Entire Countries Breached
With this leak, Mexico now joins a list of countries where almost the entire population has had their personal information leaked or breached, as 93.4 million represents over 72% of Mexico’s estimated population. Belize, Greece, Israel, Philippines, and Turkey have also experienced leaks of the majority of their population’s personal information.
It looks like INE responded publicly and has filed a complaint (?) against whoever is responsible, but it’s not clear to me (translation issues) if they know who is responsible.
Denuncia @INEMexico publicación del #PadrónElectoral en internet pic.twitter.com/uP3idXPD28
— INE (@INEMexico) April 22, 2016