3 million social security numbers stolen by hacker

The "unprecedented" breach occurred at the South Carolina Department of Revenue over the course of two months. 


Fernando Alfonso III

Internet Culture

Published Oct 29, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 8:33 am CDT

An anonymous hacker has swiped more than three million social security numbers and 387,000 credit and debit card numbers in South Carolina.

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The breach occurred at the South Carolina Department of Revenue and could affect any South Carolina resident who has filed a tax return since 1998.

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“The number of records breached requires an unprecedented, large-scale response by the Department of Revenue, the State of South Carolina and all our citizens,” Governor Nikki Haley said in a statement. “We are taking immediate steps to protect the taxpayers of South Carolina, including providing one year of credit monitoring and identity protection to those affected.”

The hacker accessed the department’s computer system in August and stole data for an estimated two months in what has been called one of the largest hacks in U.S. history, RT reported.

The data breach was caught on Oct. 20 and closed the same day, PC Magazine reported. None of the social security numbers were encrypted

“Cases like this continue to raise awareness of the shortcomings of traditional infrastructure security in keeping sensitive data safe,” data protection expert Mark Bower told PC Magazine.

Details about the hacker and how the database was breached are not available at this time.

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South Carolina residents are asked to visit protectmyid.com/scdor, the South Carolina Department of Revenue, or call 1- 866-578-5422 for more information on how to protect yourself.

Photo by 401(K) 2012/Flickr

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*First Published: Oct 29, 2012, 1:47 pm CDT