August 17, 2017
ES&S Confirms Discovery of Backup Data by Security Researcher
Omaha Nebr. – As part of an effort to find unsecured files on Amazon Web Services (AWS) server platforms, a private researcher completed a download of the Election Systems & Software (ES&S) backup files of voter data that were prepared for Chicago's electronic pollbooks and stored on the AWS platform. The voter data in the backup files included about 1.8 million names, addresses, dates of birth, partial Social Security numbers, and in some cases, driver's license and state ID numbers.
Internet security researcher Chris Vickery, who properly secured the copy of the backup files he found, notified state and local authorities on Saturday, August 12. The authorities, in turn, notified ES&S, which promptly secured those files and shut down the AWS server Saturday evening. ES&S also launched a full investigation, with the assistance of a third-party firm, to perform thorough forensic analyses of the AWS server. This investigative work is ongoing.
The backup files on the AWS server did not include any ballot information or vote totals and were not in any way connected to Chicago's voting or tabulation systems. These back-up files had no impact on any voters' registration records and had no impact on the results of any election.
ES&S is dedicated to providing valuable, trusted and proven election equipment and services, and fulfills this mission by delivering the highest standards of accuracy, security and reliability. The company is in the process of reviewing all procedures and protocols, including those of its vendors, to ensure all data and systems are secure and prevent similar situations from occurring.