South Carolina officials are still rebounding from one of the largest computer hacking episodes in the country, and offering potential victims identity theft protection.
Some 3.6 million Social Security numbers were hacked from the S.C. Department of Revenue, and 387,000 credit or debit card numbers were stolen. Some 657,000 businesses had tax information compromised, and except for 16,000 credit card numbers none of data were encrypted.
Investigators discovered on Oct. 16 that two attempts to probe the DOR system occurred in early September, and later learned that a previous attempt was made in late August.
In mid-September, two other intrusions occurred, and the hacker obtained data for the first time.
No other intrusions have been uncovered, and the vulnerability in the system has been closed.
“The number of records breached requires an unprecedented, large-scale response by the Department of Revenue, the State of South Carolina, and all our citizens,” said Gov. Nikki Haley. “We are taking immediate steps to protect the taxpayers of South Carolina, including providing one year of credit monitoring and identity protection to those affected.”
Because of the criminal hack, South Carolina residents who have paid state taxes since 1998 may have had their personal information compromised, according to the DOR.
Officials said that no public funds were accessed or at risk.
As of last Friday, an Experian call center set up to assist South Carolina taxpayers had received about 665,000 calls, and 561,000 people signed up for Experian’s identification protection program.