Experts: Georgia’s voter info breach a significant lapse

111915 Voter Lawsuit 1

A disc containing voter information that was returned by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Two Georgia women have filed a class-action lawsuit alleging a massive data breach by Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office involving the Social Security numbers and other private information of more than 6 million voters statewide. J. Scott Trubey/Staff strubey@ajc.com

The security breach that potentially compromised the personal information of more than 6 million Georgia voters included a lot of information that criminals would love to get their hands on, security experts say.

The information, including Social Security numbers, dates of birth and driver’s license numbers, is far more valuable to criminals than the bank card information that has been stolen in several recent high-profile cyber-attacks against retailers such as Target and Atlanta-based Home Depot.

“When you get a Social Security number and a date of birth, you’ve got everything you need to do tremendous damage to these consumers,” said Stephen Coggeshall, the chief analytics and science officer for data security firms LifeLock and ID Analytics.

Exposure may be limited as discs containing the records were distributed to 12 firms — including news organizations like The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and political parties. But experts say the security lapse is a breach in protocol and stronger standards are needed.

In Thursday’s AJC, the newspaper examines what information was contained in the Georgia Secretary of State’s security lapse and how consumers can protect themselves.

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