Inadequate response led to taxpayers’ data theft

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The S.C. Department of Revenue’s deputy director acknowledges his agency was notified in August of a computer security breach, but the response clearly wasn’t adequate since a hacker stole millions of taxpayers’ personal data a month later.

Harry Cooper told a House panel Thursday that officials received email and phone notifications that 22 computers had been infected. He says employees used software to wipe those machines clean, as per procedure. But that obviously wasn’t enough.

The hacker was able to access information for weeks before taking unencrypted Social Security and bank account numbers from computer servers.

Jim Earley of the state division that sent the notification says its recommendations included resetting passwords, which revenue didn’t do. Earley told legislators he’s unsure if that would’ve prevented the data theft.

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