The phenomenon of hackers stealing information and posting it online is not new. But it is almost unheard of for such malicious actors to succeed in exfiltrating the data of an entire country.
Thus many eyebrows were raised when a data breach monitoring service, Under the Breach, reported that a database containing the personal information of the entire country of Georgia had been posted on a hacker forum on March 28.
The data was said to include the names, birthdates, addresses, and mobile phone and ID numbers of over 4.9 million citizens. As the country has about 3.7 million citizens according to its 2019 census, it is assumed that much of the data is that of deceased citizens.
The identity of the hackers and the source of the leaked data were not clear.
Following reports of the breach, the Eurasian country's Central Election Commission said in a statement on March 30 that the data is "radically different" from the voter data of the Election Administration's portal.
"The CEC states that the information released at the hacker’s site is not processed by the CEC and the database itself differs by its data, format and structure from the information possessed by the EA," it said.
"It is also worth noting that no cyber incident has been reported to the CEC at this stage, and verification has shown that the personal numbers and addresses posted at the hacker site do not match the CEC voter database."