Personal details of all Israeli voters again leaked online, day before election

Anonymous hackers publish databases with 6.5 million names and ID numbers, including where people are set to vote, in latest election-related privacy scandal

Israelis cast their ballot at a voting station in Jerusalem, March 2, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/ Flash90)
Israelis cast their ballot at a voting station in Jerusalem, March 2, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/ Flash90)

Personal details of all voters were published online Monday, in another massive leak of Israelis’ personal information before Knesset elections.

The data breach was apparently linked to the Elector app, which was blamed for previous leaks when it was being used by the ruling Likud party to boost turnout.

The Haaretz daily reported that on Monday, a day before the fourth national elections in two years, some journalists received a link to the database on Ghostbin, a website that allows people to post anonymous messages.

The anonymous uploaders — identified as “The Israeli Autumn” — reportedly said they were “forced” to release the information due to the failure of authorities to deal with Elector. They did not provide evidence that the information originated from Elector.

The message included encrypted links and codes to access two databases, one of which contains the full voter registry, including names and ballot numbers of all 6,528,565 eligible voters. The other includes up-to-date names, addresses, ID numbers, and more details.

Screenshot of the website of the Elector elections data app, taken February 10, 2020.

Ahead of the previous elections last March, a data breach on Elector resulted in one of the largest and most compromising leaks of Israelis’ personal information in the nation’s history.

A petition filed to the Central Elections Committee accused Likud of using its access to the official voter registry to create a database of all voting-age Israelis that it then made available to its grassroots activists through the publicly available app, which the party purchased from the Elector company.

Israeli election law gives political parties access to the registry, but forbids handing it to a third party.

A flaw in the app’s web interface gave “admin access” to the entire database, allowing anybody to access and copy the Israeli voter registry, along with additional information gathered by Likud about hundreds of thousands of voters.

The exposed database included the full name, sex, home address, and, in many cases, cellphone number and responses to political polling for 6.5 million Israeli adults.

There was also a second leak of information from the app, due to faulty data protection.

Other parties and political candidates have also used Elector, but Likud was the only one known to have outsourced its voter data wholesale to the app, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on many occasions urged party activists to use it.

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