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article imageMajor birth certificate application data exposure Special

By Tim Sandle     Dec 10, 2019 in Technology
Some 750,000 birth certificates in the U.S. have been exposed due to a data breach. In response to the extensive birth certificate application exposure, security expert Robert Prigge, CEO of Jumio looks at the root cause and implications.
The new data breach relates to an online firm, set up to help customers obtain copies of their birth certificates from state and local authorities, leaving some 750,000 applications on an unsecured Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud storage system.
The records contain data like the applicant’s name, date-of-birth, current home address, email address, phone number and historical personal information. This includes past addresses, names of family members and the reason for the certificate request application.
According to Robert Prigge, CEO of Jumio the issue was waiting to happen, as he notes: "Due to the high amount of consumer data provided by individuals requesting birth certificate copies and on the actual birth certificates, these applications are a fraudster’s dream come true."
In terms of what cyber-criminals will do with the data, he notes: "The data compromised here will ultimately end up on the dark web and in the hands of bad actors who can then use it to impersonate others or to create synthetic identities by pairing stolen Social Security numbers with the names, dates of birth and other compromised personal information."
Prigge notes that this is unlikely to be the end of the matter: "We will continue to see fraudsters target industries that protect extensive personal information in 2020, including healthcare, financial services, government agencies and higher education because criminals can extract high-value data."
In terms of preventative actions, Prigge sees certain sectors of the economy as being especially vulnerable: "It’s time these industries stop relying on the password to protect personal data, as passwords can be easily guessed and bypassed. Biometric authentication is significantly more secure, reliable, and delivers a much higher level of assurance."
As an example, Prigge recommends: "Leveraging biometrics will protect the next generation of consumers while avoiding the same basic security pitfalls that are fueling the fraud epidemic plaguing enterprises and consumers alike.”
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