Up to 3.6 million social security numbers and 387,000 credit and debit card numbers may have been exposed to hackers in a security breach involving computers at the Department of Revenue in South Carolina.
Predictably, this revelation has led to considerable unease with taxpayers who fear their information may have been stolen, with some angry that state officials may have taken too long to disclose the major security breach. State police have begun investigating the incident, which occurred earlier this month.
"This wasn't an issue where anyone in state government could have done something to avoid it," South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said.
"This is a situation where a sophisticated, intelligent individual got into a database and is unbelievably creative in how he did it, and now we're having to deal with it."
The Republican governor, who claimed she wanted the hacker "slammed against the wall," announced ways in which concerned citizens in South Carolina could find out if their information was involved.
State officials have provided a toll=free number for taxpayers to call to obtain a year of credit and identity theft protection from Experian, paid with state funds. Some callers however claimed that they received busy signals, recordings or no answer when they tried to get through.
"You don't have to call today. You have until the end of January 2013 to call and it will be retroactive," said Haley.
Over 455,000 calls had already been made to the hot line, with over 154,000 people signing up for the credit protection.
Written by: James Delahunty @ 29 Oct 2012 20:05