Interim SC Dept. of Revenue Director William Blume testifies to a senate subcomittee on January 22, 2013.
Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The South Carolina Department of Revenue has hired a company to protect the information of taxpayers.
Interim SC Dept. of Revenue (SCDOR) Director William Blume announced Tuesday that the agency has signed a contract with EMC, an information security technology firm.
The cost of the service is expected to be $5 million.
Blume's comments came before a South Carolina Senate subcommittee looking into last year's massive hacking of state data. Almost four million people's Social Security numbers were exposed to the public when a foreign hacker infiltrated the state's database.
While he's only been on the job for ten days, he says the #1 goal going forward is restoring the confidence of tax payers. Director Blume tells news 19 that he has a message for South Carolinians who have concerns over the future of his agency's security.
"That we're going to do it (encryption). We've changed the culture and we've changed the tone at the top. There won't be anymore of this."
Blume told reporters that there have been no current employees terminated because of the breach. He added that they are preparing for an increased number of paper tax returns even though the agency stands by its claims that their E-filing is safe.
The department of revenue will begin receiving their new encrypting equipment on Jan. 28th. The new director says it will take about thirteen weeks to install everything.
The former director of the agency, James Etter, resigned in the wake of the discovery. A report by security firm Mandiant later cited problems with the revenue department's security, including lack of dual verification for entry to the hacked database and a lack of encryption on Social Security numbers contributed to the breach.
Meanwhile, the former IT security officer for the agency testified that software to encrypt information on laptops and computers was bought in 2010, but was never used.
Scott Shealy told senators the software cost $70,000.
The state continues to offer free credit monitoring through Experian. You can sign up for it by March 31st by going to www.protectmyid.com/scdor and use the activation code SCDOR123.