CHARLESTON, S.C. Oct 26 As many as 3.6 million
Social Security numbers and 387,000 credit and debit card
numbers used by state taxpayers could have been exposed to a
hacker in recent cyber attacks on the state Department of
Revenue's computers, officials said on Friday.
The vast majority of the credit card numbers used by South
Carolina taxpayers were encrypted, but about 16,000 were not,
meaning the data was fully exposed, state police said.
None of the Social Security numbers were encrypted, said
State Law Enforcement Division spokesman Thom Berry.
Berry said the hacker used a foreign Internet Protocol (IP)
address to gain access to the data.
"This is not a good day for South Carolina," Governor Nikki
Haley said at a news conference in the state capital of
Columbia. "I want this person slammed against the wall," she
said of the hacker.
"I want to get this person and make sure he can never do
this to anybody or any state again," Haley said "I want that man
Officials said no public funds were accessed or put at risk.
An investigation into the security breach is ongoing.
Investigators this month discovered two attempts to probe
the Department of Revenue's system in early September, and later
learned of an attempt made in late August, state officials said.
Two other intrusions occurred in mid-September, and the
department determined the hacker had obtained data for the first
time, according to a statement from the state.
Officials said the vulnerability in the system was closed on
Oct. 20 and the system is now believed to be secure.
Anyone who filed a South Carolina tax return since 1998 is
being urged to find out whether their information was affected.
The state will provide those affected with one year of credit
monitoring and identity theft protection.
Earlier this year, police arrested a South Carolina state
health agency employee they said had made off with almost
230,000 Medicaid recipients' personal information.
Also, the University of South Carolina said in August that a
hacker had breached the personal information of as many as
34,000 people connected to its College of Education.