An Upstate law firm has filed the first class-action lawsuit against South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and the state Department of Revenue in connection with a hacking case that resulted in theft of 3.6 million Social Security numbers.
Haley announced Friday that a hacker with an international IP address hacked into 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.
On Wednesday, the Hawkins Law Firm announced a lawsuit filed in Richland County that accuses Haley and the state tax agency of failing to protect the citizens of South Carolina and violating a state law that requires prompt disclosure of breaches.
"This hacking amounts to a cyber hurricane, and it's a category 5," said attorney John Hawkins. "Tragically, for the people of South Carolina, there were cost effective, non-cumbersome steps that could have been taken by these defendants, but for whatever reason, they were not."
Hawkins told FOX Carolina that the lawsuit was filed by a Spartanburg man whose information was compromised during the cyber attack. He said that the lawsuit does not seek monetary damages, but instead seeks to hold leaders accountable.
Haley has said South Carolina used the same standards as banks and other private institutions when it decided not to encrypt Social Security numbers and other information on a database of state tax returns. She called the attack unbelievably creative.
Since the hacking, officials have announced that anyone whose information was compromised is eligible for a year of free credit-monitoring service and a lifetime of fraud resolution insurance.
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.
Sunday, March 9 2014 9:32 PM EDT2014-03-10 01:32:37 GMT
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