Personal Data of All 6.5 Million Israeli Voters Is Exposed

A software flaw exposed the personal data of every eligible voter in Israel — including full names, addresses and identity card numbers for 6.5 million people — raising concerns about identity theft and electoral manipulation, three weeks before the country’s national election. The New York Times reports: The security lapse was tied to a mobile app used by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party to communicate with voters, offering news and information about the March 2 election. Until it was fixed, the flaw made it possible, without advanced technical skills, to view and download the government’s entire voter registry, though it was unclear how many people did so. How the breach occurred remains uncertain, but Israel’s Privacy Protection Authority, a unit of the Justice Ministry, said it was looking into the matter — though it stopped short of announcing a full-fledged investigation. The app’s maker, in a statement, played down the potential consequences, describing the leak as a “one-off incident that was immediately dealt with” and saying it had since bolstered the site’s security. “Ran Bar-Zik, the programmer who revealed the breach, explained that visitors to the Elector app’s website could right-click to ‘view source,’ an action that reveals the code behind a web page,” the report adds.

“That page of code included the user names and passwords of site administrators with access to the voter registry, and using those credentials would allow anyone to view and download the information. Mr. Bar-Zik, a software developer for Verizon Media who wrote the Sunday article in Haaretz, said he chose the name and password of the Likud party administrator and logged in.”

The flaw was first reported on Sunday by the newspaper Haaretz.