Dark web peddlers are busy this election season.
A massive unauthorized disclosure of voter records is estimated to exceed 35 million across 19 states, according to Anomali Labs and Intel 471, firms that provide cyber threat services and intelligence.
The voter records, which include personal information and voting histories, are being peddled on the dark web in hacker forums, according to a blog post from Anomali this week.
“I want to make clear that the information posted is publicly available information. We are not suggesting any states have been hacked,” Dan Barahona, Chief Marketing Officer at Anomali, told Fox News.
“Considering the information is fairly easily obtained, there's no reason to believe a malicious actor would bother with trying to hack into an election database,” he said.
Rather, this is a targeted campaign by bad actors who are redistributing legitimately obtained voter data on a cybercrime forum, Anomali said in the post.
“To our knowledge, this represents the first reference on the criminal underground of actors selling or distributing lists of 2018 voter registration data, including US voters’ personally identifiable information and voting history,” according to Anomali.
Voter records include full name, phone numbers, physical addresses, voting history, and other unspecified voting data. Voter list prices range from $150 to $12,500 depending on the state and depending on the number of voter records per database listing and/or other factors, Anomali said.
“Once purchased, the vendor claims to provide customers with regular updates at the start of each week,” the blog post added.
What’s not clear is the motivation for the illicit activity.
“For the seller it may simply be an easy way to try to profit from aggregating voter registration rolls,” Anomali’s Barahona said.
Or the voter data could be combined with other breached data, such as social security numbers, as part of an identity theft scheme, Barahona said.
And it could also be theoretically used to alter election outcomes. “Someone attempting to impact elections could use this information to register on behalf of other voters, request mail-in ballots, and vote early as those voters, for example,” he said.
Barahona pointed to a recent case where four women were indicted in Texas. The four are members of an organized voter fraud ring and were paid to target elderly voters in a scheme to generate large numbers of mail ballots, and then harvest those ballots for specific candidates in 2016, according to a statement from the Texas Attorney General’s office.
“The voting data itself presents a more interesting and concerning possibility,” Tim Erlin, VP, product management and strategy at Tripwire, a cybersecurity firm, told Fox News.
“We know that a variety of disinformation campaigns have been used to influence elections,” he said. “Having accurate voting records, along with personal data, could allow for more targeted and effective influence operations.”