FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes wants to reassure Kentuckians that the election system is safe, despite reports that voter lists from two dozen states, including Kentucky, are available for sale on the Dark Web.
During Tuesday’s State Board of Elections meeting, members went into executive session to discuss both potential litigation and cybersecurity issues. No comment was made when the meeting returned to open session, but she spoke to reporters afterwards.
“In today’s climate, voters are very well aware that we have not only foreign but domestic bad actors seeking to shake people’s confidence in this process,” she said. “Folks all across Kentucky need to be reassured that we have a system, the integrity of which we work diligently every day to maintain. Obviously, there is more work that we need to continue doing, and work with our federal partners to investigate the claims and accusations that are out there.”
Grimes then finished with the bottom line: “At this time, we don’t have any belief that our systems have been compromised.”
Monday afternoon, a report by a website that covers news for IT professionals and decision-makers indicated Kentucky is one of 19 states whose voter information is being sold on the Dark Web.
ZDNet reported that voter information for approximately 35 million U.S. citizens is being peddled on a popular hacking forum.
Researchers from two companies that spotted the ad on a hackers’ forum 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 information on Minnesota voters 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’s voter information is available for sale to political parties and bona fide political candidates, according to election officials, while the sale of that data to anyone else requires approval by the State Board of Elections. The voting history it contains is only how many elections they participated in, not how they voted in those elections.
The cost for a statewide list is $2,000, the same as the hacker’s price, but is less for smaller areas, such as cities or counties, depending on the number of precincts requested.