A cyber attack compromised the data of voters across the United Kingdom (U.K.), the British Electoral Commission announced in a Tuesday press release.
The UK’s Electoral Commission provides oversight for elections along with political finance regulation, Reuters reported. The hackers breached commission systems in August 2021 but remained undetected until October 2022, the British Electoral Commission release noted.
Hackers were able to reach “reference copies of the electoral registers” with data including “the name and address of anyone in the UK who registered to vote between 2014 and 2022,” the commission release continued.
Even “the names of those registered as overseas voters” reportedly fell victim to the attack.
Hostile actors were active in our systems and had access to servers which held our email, control systems, and copies of the electoral registers. We have since worked with external security experts and the National Cyber Security Centre to investigate and secure our systems.
— Electoral Commission (@ElectoralCommUK) August 8, 2023
Beyond home addresses and names, the breach reportedly jeopardized voter’s emails, phone numbers and photos.
The Electoral Commission noted the breached data failed to pose “a high risk to individuals.” (RELATED: Greenpeace Climbs On British PM’s Mansion And Drapes It In ‘Oily-Black Fabric’)
However, “combined with other data in the public domain,” the data breached could help “infer patterns of behaviour or to identify and profile individuals,” the release continued.
“The successful attack on the Electoral Commission highlights that organisations involved in elections remain a target, and need to remain vigilant to the risks to processes around our elections,” Shane McNally, the Electoral Commission Chief Executive, said.