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Pennsylvania officials bail after voter reg site springs a leak

Flaw exposes sensitive user data

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Pennsylvania officials pulled the plug on a voter registration website after a user posted online instructions that showed the site was exposing sensitive information about people who used the service.

The flaw with the state's Voter Registration Application made it possible for anyone on the net to view registration forms that had been completed online. The forms contained a bevy of personal information, including the voter's name, date of birth, driver's license number and political party affiliation, ComputerWorld reports.

The revelation comes a month before the state holds a high-profile presidential primary that could determine who wins the nomination for the Democratic candidate for US President. Users who tried visiting the site on Wednesday got a message that it was not available.

A user with the handle mtg169 first disclosed the leak in on Digg. The post showed that it was possible to view the PDF applications of voters my modifying request parameter included in the URL of the voter registration site. Simply adding or subtracting numbers was all it took to view a different application.

"Valid IDs appear to be working from 50000 and up to 58500+," mtg169 wrote. "Very bad PA ... very very bad!" PA is the US postal abbreviation for Pennsylvania.

In a comment following the post, mtg169 added that IDs in the 20,000 range also exposed applications.

The breach represents a serious blow to the privacy of people who may have used the service. The instructions on Digg had been up for hours before the service was unplugged, and there's no telling how long miscreants had been using the flaw to take a peak at voters' personal details. ®

If you have a tip about the leakage of personal information, please contact your reporter here.

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