Governor Haley Releases Details, Admits SC Could Have Done More to Prevent South Carolina Hack Attack
After a month of fearful questions, Governor Haley stepped forward and admitted that state agencies could have done more to protect South Carolina residents’ financial and social security information. However, there is some good news amongst the tragedy.
The hackers have information on 5.7 million current and former South Carolina residents – 3.8 million taxpayers and their 1.9 dependents. There have been nearly 700,000 businesses affected as well. The tax information dates back as far as 1998. However, all of the information stolen in the South Carolina hack attack was from people who filed taxes online, so Haley says the state office knows who these people are. They will be notified of the breach to their security either by letter or email very soon, she said.
The S.C. Banking Association has also been notified to set up surveillance for fraudulent activity because of the South Carolina hack attack.
Haley also sent a letter to the IRS to ask the federal agency to change its cyber-security standards, calling them out-dated. According to the governor, the state followed the IRS’s guidelines for internet security, but South Carolina suffered a hack attack anyway. She said she will also ask lawmakers to develop an emergency plan to help prevent another South Carolina hack attack. States currently have plans for natural disasters like hurricanes, and considering the scale of the hack attack on South Carolina, she insists that states should have a similar plan in place to deal with stolen information.
Although Haley stated that she would not blame anyone specifically for the South Carolina hack attack, DOR’s director Jim Etter has resigned, and Haley said she accepted his resignation. In order to protect South Carolina’s residents’ social security information and future benefits, she stated that she and Etter agreed that “new eyes” would be better for the job.
South Carolina Hack Attack Claims First Victims
On August 13th, the hackers sent phishing emails to several revenue department employees, and one employee clicked the link in the email. That link released malware that stole the employee’s username and password. Later that month, the hackers logged into the department remotely, uploading more programs to gather information and make it easier for them to access the system. In September, they made several back-up copies of the department’s database, compressed into smaller files, and then moved onto the internet. In October, after the Secret Service informed Governor Haley of the South Carolina hack attack, investigators found the backdoor that the hackers used to check their link to the server. Officials begin closing security holes, and so far they say the hackers have not tried to pry into the system since. However, millions of taxpayers had their information stolen already.
Earlier in the month, Haley informed residents that it could be years before they saw any problem with their bank account information. Unfortunately, some South Carolinians are already seeing their accounts drained. Tina and Wade Mather saw fraudulent charges start as early as November 2nd. The couple owned a catering business, and their business account was hacked and drained of $4,000.
The only way hackers could have accessed that information was through the Department of Revenue’s server. They kept their information stored there to more easily pay employees.
They said that the money was drained over the course of two days, sent to a real estate company in Atlanta, and used to pay a Georgia power bill after routing the money through Boston.
The couple had immediately signed up for the credit monitoring service offered for free to residents and potential victims of the South Carolina hack attack. Their bank opened up an investigation, but the couple is unsure if they will see the money again. Their business, social security benefits, and social security information could be in jeopardy as well.
The Attorneys at the Strom Law Firm Can Help Prosecute Criminals, Including South Carolina’s Hack Attack
Hackers can break into complex security systems any time. If your personal information has been stolen, you could face difficulty applying for social security benefits. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. If you live in South Carolina and you are a victim of South Carolina’s Hack Attack, the attorneys at Strom Law can help you secure your social security disability and benefits. We offer free, confidential consultations, so do not hesitate to contact us. 803.252.4800.