Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Social Security Number Hack

By Kimberly Lamson-Scribner
     Friday, October 25, 2012, South Carolina announced a leak of 3.6 million social security numbers that was hacked into of South Carolinians that had filed for tax returns since 1998. Noelle Phillips from The State reported that “The attack also exposed 387,000 credit and debit card numbers. The stolen data included other information people file with their tax returns such as names and addresses.” As technology progresses, the security of online information with the government needs to as well. South Carolina’s state government should hire many more and better experts to supervise online computer actions. 
     This online security breech should have never happened. Fitsnews reports that “Astoundingly, SCDOR didn’t even know it had been hacked until October 10 when it was informed of the breach by state information technology officials.  The “vulnerability in the system” was not resolved until October 20 – two months after the hacking attempts first began.” This successful attack means that it could potentially happen again and to a lot more people. WYFF4 News said that, “anyone who has filed a tax return in South Carolina since 1998 is being encouraged to take precautions after foreign hackers accessed millions of Social Security, debit card and credit card numbers.” Foreign professional hackers attacked this large amount of vital information. This means that our identities are in the hands of foreigners. Since Governor Haley set up an identity and credit monitoring system for only a year, most of the fraud with credit and debit cards will happen after then. In the meantime, the hackers are probably making identification cards with names and addresses. It’s horrifying that they weren’t even Americans that got ahold of the information because it makes it so much harder to track it back down.

     Governor Nikki Haley has not done her job by securing our information on the internet. Bill Davis reports that “Would you rather have 100 officials in 50 separate offices, making $50,000 a year each, in charge of (computer system) security, or 10 people in one agency making $150,000, and this is all they do?” asked Keck. Keck’s statement is right on point. There are too few officials monitoring the internet. “Back in April, nearly a quarter of a million confidential Medicare and Medicaid records were improperly released to a private email address by an employee at the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS)” (fitsnews). It’s astounding that even after that incident, Haley refused to hire more people to secure our vital information. I do not believe that she has taken these incidents seriously enough or it would not have happened again for a period of two months. This isn’t just for South Carolina either; our whole government needs to take better precautions.
     This exposure of information will cause the affected people a great deal of agony in the long run with building credit back up and regaining financial stability. The State Department of Revenue set up a toll free number that you can call to get your credit cards and identity monitored free of charge, only for a year state funded.  Experian’s ProtectMyID program is the main program that the state has chosen to use.
     Cyber attacks are becoming much more mainstream than most citizens think. Clearly nothing is secured that is put into the internet. Same with everything you read on the internet is not always reliable and true information. Even web pages that are deemed “secure”, in reality are not. As I find information about this topic, pop-ups appear in new windows. I do not like it at all. Computer users receive viruses all the time unexpectedly. Some viruses are as bad as crashing the whole system.  South Carolina needs to do better and protect its citizens from cyber attacks. 

For further reading:
Anonymous. "Breaking News." WYFF4. N.p., 30 Oct. 2012. Web. 01 Feb. 2013.
Anonymous. "South Carolina Got Hacked." FITSNews. The Mace Group LLC, 26 Oct. 2012.
      Web. 01 Feb. 2013.<>
Davis, Bill. "Taking a byte out of S.C.." Legislature, governor struggle for answers to
      hacking. 11 JAN 2013: 12.02. Web. 1 Feb. 2013.<>
Phillips, Noelle. "3.6 million Social Security numbers hacked in S.C. Read more here:


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