South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley held another press conference about the situation after a hacker accessed the Social Security numbers of 3.6 million South Carolina taxpayers.
Tuesday's press conference was the third in nearly as many days since news broke of the hacking. On Friday, state officials revealed a hacker with an international IP address infiltrated state Department of Revenue files containing tax records submitted since 1998.
State Law Enforcement Division Director Mark Keel said state officials learned of the problem Oct. 10 although the hacker may have gotten into the files as early as August. As for the investigation into the hacking, Keel said during an earlier press conference that it is on-going and sensitive. He said it may be a few months before investigators are certain as to what type of information was compromised.
Haley said Friday that the people whose information has been accessed are entitled to a free year of credit-monitoring service provided by Experian and will also get lifetime fraud resolution. By Tuesday, Haley said, more than 455,000 people called the hotline that was set up, and of those who called or gone online, 287,000 have signed up for the monitoring service.
Haley said it may take six to eight months before people's information from the breach is compromised. She said that the breach was "truly sophisticated," was not made by a hole left by a state employee and was an "absolutely bizarre" occurrence.
Many parents have voiced concerned about their children's social security numbers. Haley said parents will receive either an email or letter prompting them to match up their children's numbers with their own Experian accounts for monitoring as well.
Amongst the breach, Haley said Tuesday that of the 16,000 card numbers in the system that was hacked, 5,000 were taken but all of those numbers were already expired.
Haley said the Secret Service and other government officials have been brought in to investigate and find the hacker, but no one with the South Carolina Department of Revenue did anything wrong resulting in the breach. She also said the hacker did not get into their system via the Internet.
As of Tuesday, Haley said they do not yet know the hacker's motive and are working to resolve the breach.
She said Experian has agreed to cap all costs to the state at $12 million for their services. Those calling Experian to set up an account are facing an average wait time of 10 minutes, Haley said on Tuesday. That wait time was longer in previous days.
People are asked to visit protectmyid.com/scdor and enter code SCDOR123 or call 1-866-578-5422 to determine if their Social Security number was accessed.
Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.