Georgia: Massive data breach less likely here

A massive data breach like the one reported recently by South Carolina is less likely to happen here, Georgia officials said Wednesday.

That’s because the state uses data encryption and other controls not in place earlier this year when hackers breached South Carolina’s Department of Revenue and exposed 3.8 million Social Security numbers.

Wes Knight, an information security officer for the Georgia Department of Revenue, and Steve Hodges, who oversees the department’s information technology operations, both said the state uses methods meant to prevent a massive data breach.

“We do encrypt our data,” Knight said. “We do have different controls in place to protect us from people outside the network trying to access our data.”

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said Tuesday that state officials did not do enough to prevent the cyberattack. Her state revenue director, Jim Etter, also resigned, effective Dec. 31.

According to a review, the department’s system was vulnerable because it did not require dual verification for someone trying to access tax returns and did not encrypt Social Security numbers.

The breach, which occurred between August and October, is believed to be the largest involving a state tax agency in the nation’s history.