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The long reach of cyber-criminals – attack on democracy in Georgia…and they’re not alone….

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Voter information for 4,934,863 Georgians has been published on a hacker forum over the weekend.

According to the data breach notification service ‘Under the Breach’, on Saturday a file containing voter information for more than 4.9 million Georgians, including deceased citizens, has been published on a hacking forum.

Georgia has 3.7 million people, but the voting population is around one third.

Data were included in a Microsoft Access database file of a 1.04 GB.

Personal Information

Exposed personal information includes full names, home addresses, dates of birth, ID numbers, and mobile phone numbers.

Under the Breach shared the database with the online media outlet ZDNet that analysed it and confirmed the presence of 4,934,863 records, many of them belonging to deceased voters.

“The database contained 4,934,863 records but was not kept up to date, as it also included details for millions of deceased voters — as can be seen from the screenshot below.” details the post published by ZDNet.

The user that published the file on the hacker forum claims it was originated from official government portal voters.cec.gov.ge the government service that allows voters to verify and update their registration records.

It is not clear how data was obtained by the users that published it.

Ecuador

Similar incidents already occurred & in September experts discovered a huge data leak affecting Ecuador, maybe the largest full-country leak, that exposed data belonging to 20 million Ecuadorian Citizens.

Chile

In August 2019, voter information of more than 14.3 million Chileans, which accounts for nearly 80% of the population, was exposed on the internet due to an unsecured Elasticsearch database.

Israel

Also, in 2020 an app produced for the use of Israeli electoral officials was accidently released onto the internet. This resulted not only in the names of every voter in Israel being made public but also included addresses for every Member of Parliament, Cabinet Ministers, and senior military & intelligence agency commanders. Within the context of the ME Security situation the gravity of this ‘accident’ cannot be overstated.

The future

It is highly likely that voting systems across the developed world over the next 12 months will see a quantum shift to either postal or online formats. The global emergency will create this necessity. Opportunities for skilful ‘bad state actors’ to cyber manipulate elections will become legion. No nation would welcome Moscow, Beijing or Teheran deciding their elections for them!

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