Imagine registering to vote, giving all your sensitive data over to trusted officials, only to have it stolen. According to multiple sources, this may be the single largest government-related data breach so far in history.

The Commission of Elections (COMELEC) was hacked in March 2016, leaving 55 million Filipino voters susceptible to the wiles of the cyber thieves.The groups Anonymous Philippines and LulzSec Pilipinas have allegedly taken responsibility for the crime. They accuse the election officials of not deepening the security of the voting machines for the current elections.

This breach leaked sensitive information on Philippine voters including addresses, fingerprints and family status. Also stolen were passport information, lists of officials running for office and administrative accounts held by the Comelec officials. The data stolen wasn’t even encrypted, according to the investigators, so even a low-level hacker could quickly gain access to personal information.

The hackers have since leaked the voters’ information online in a searchable database, despite Comelec’s claims that no truly sensitive information was accessed. Investigators warn that the information could be used to gain access to bank accounts or to hack emails, along with a laundry list of other identity theft crimes.

This breach may help speed along much-needed funding for this government to institute anti-hacking protocols and cyber security training to their employees. As for the elections in May, the lack of sincere action on Comelec’s part casts doubt as to whether or not the elections can be held accurately and peacefully.

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