State Officials Get Update on Hacking Protection

7:21 PM, Nov 13, 2012   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Governor Nikki Haley updated reporters Tuesday about the data breach at the State Department of Revenue.

Governor Haley answered questions about why some information provided by state leaders seems to conflict with previous reports and why the Revenue Department chose to use private firm Trustwave to monitor systems and not a service offered by the state Department of information technology.

"Trustwave did what they were contracted to do. We are in the process of finding out where the fall was. Was the fall in the agency? Was the fall out of the agency? Was the fall with Trustwave? Was the fall with this international hacker? I don't know. You are asking the questions I don't know yet," said Haley.

Governor Haley says they needed to use Trustwave over the state's system in order to meet standards by credit card companies.

Meanwhile, the numbers of individuals and businesses signing up for credit protection continues to grow. So far 778,268 individuals have signed up for credit protection through Experian and 7,102 have signed up for credit protection through Dun and Bradstreet Corporation.

Tuesday morning, anyone who had questions for data security experts had a chance to get some answers at the Columbia Convention Center.

State officials, IT directors, and Chief Financial Officers heard ways to protect themselves from hackers; they also heard just how valuable data can be in the wrong hands.

"I think the bad guys are figuring out there is some great information available in tax returns and personal information and they can turn that into money."

Chris Swecker, retired assistant FBI director, gave News19 some insight into the company Mandiant, which has been hired by the state to secure the data at the Department of Revenue.

"I have worked very closely with Mandiant. I know how they operate. I have known them since 1999. I can guarantee you at this point, they know what happened," said Swecker.

Greg Henderson with the software security company SAS has been investigating fraud for fifteen years. He doesn't believe we can ever be one hundred percent protected from a data breach.

"I would encourage the state to continue with the efforts that they put in place already to protect the network and to also the individual payment systems within the programs," said Henderson.

Meanwhile, Treasurer Curtis Loftis is asking that new legislation be made for the state to protect it's money and data, calling for a centralized voice for technology in South Carolina, one he believes could come as early as this year.

"We have got to have a central repository for our internet technology we don't have that now. It's diverse. We've got to have one person in charge," said Loftis.

While there may not be one answer to protect all state state data, the message is clear: "There's lots of room for improvement," said Henderson.

We know that improvement will not involve Governor Nikki Haley firing anyone from her staff because of the breach. Tuesday she told reporters that will not happen. Governor Haley says they hope to have a new preliminary report on the Hacking later this week.

For information on how you can sign up for credit protection click here.

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