Elections Software Contractor Covers Fraud Protection for Chicago Voters After Data Leak

After inadvertently posting voter records online, contractor Election Systems & Software has hired a risk management firm to protect the identities of those affected.

John Byrne, Chicago Tribune / September 28, 2017
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(TNS) -- Registered voters in Chicago will be able to avail themselves of a year's worth of free fraud prevention and identity theft recovery services covered by the company that inadvertently put nearly 2 million voters' personal information online.

Election Systems & Software, a contractor that helps maintain Chicago's electronic poll books, announced Thursday it had hired risk management firm Kroll to provide the services to Chicagoans who may have been affected by the unsecured voter files being posted on Amazon Web Services.

While ES&S maintains "investigations have not uncovered any evidence that any voter's personal information stored on the AWS server was misused," the firm said in a news release Thursday that it was bringing in Kroll "out of an abundance of caution."

Kroll will provide free fraud consultation support, "including investigating suspicious activity that could be tied to an identity theft event," according to the release.

And in cases of identity theft, the company will provide investigators to help registered Chicago voters resolve issues.

The news release, however, does not specify how Chicago voters can go about obtaining these services, and spokespeople for ES&S and the Chicago elections board did not immediately respond to questions.

In August, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners said a file containing the names, addresses, dates of birth, the last four digits of many voters' Social Security numbers, driver's license and state ID numbers for Chicago's 1.8 million registered voters was published online and publicly accessible for an unknown period of time.

The announcement came days after a data security researcher alerted officials he had found the unsecured files while conducting a search of items uploaded to Amazon Web Services, a cloud system that allows users to rent storage space and share files with certain people or the general public. The files had been uploaded by ES&S.

Jim Allen, a spokesman for the Chicago elections board, said then that it was unknown how long the unsecured files had been accessible on the server, but said there was no indication anyone but the researcher had discovered it.

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