South Carolina tax hacking might be nation's worst yet
CHARLESTON, S.C. — Millions of Social Security numbers and business records from tax returns as far back as 1998 were hacked in South Carolina, and experts said on Wednesday that it may be the largest cyberattack against a state tax department in the nation's history.
State and federal officials are investigating the hacking they say may have started in August and was discovered last month. They say the vulnerability in the system was fixed Oct. 20. The 3.6 million tax returns filed since 1998 included Social Security numbers and about 387,000 credit and debit card numbers that also were exposed, with 6,000 of those unencrypted.
In her daily update on Wednesday, Gov. Nikki Haley said up to 657,000 businesses have been compromised.
“I believe it might actually be the largest against a state government, but certainly of a state tax department,” said Paul Stephens of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse based in San Diego.
“We've never heard of anything like this, so I think you can say that,” agreed Verenda Smith, deputy director of the National Federation of Tax Administrators in Washington.
The state has agreed to pay Experian up to $12 million for taxpayers enrolling in a service that provides a year of credit monitoring. As of Wednesday, 418,000 people had signed up.
Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp., has agreed to provide businesses a credit alert service at no cost to either business owners or the state for the life of the business, Haley said. A website and toll-free number for that should be available by Friday.
A former state senator filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Revenue and the governor, accusing them of failing to protect taxpayers.
Attorney John Hawkins is seeking class-action status, hoping to represent all taxpayers whose Social Security numbers and credit card information were compromised.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers’ Rooney instrumental in bringing American football to Ireland
- Penn State kicks off Franklin era
- Steelers wrap lackluster preseason with loss to Panthers
- Allegheny County sues hotel over unpaid taxes
- Preseason valuable for Steelers’ offensive line
- Experimental Ebola drug heals all monkeys in study
- Thousand-pound alligator caught in Alabama sets record
- NCAA rebuts report of eased PSU sanctions
- DEP releases details of cases of drinking well contamination from drilling
- Jeannette traffic stop leads to drug charges
- Penguins confident Pouliot will be healthy, ready for camp