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S.C. House launches probe into DOR hacking incident

Staff Report
Published Dec. 7, 2012

The S.C. House has launched its own investigation into a computer hacking incident at the Department of Revenue that led to the theft of data from millions of S.C. individuals and businesses.

The bipartisan panel, appointed by Speaker Bobby Harrell, has been charged with finding answers and making legislative recommendations.

“While this investigative committee is officially tasked with finding out answers and recommending better security solutions, its ultimate goal is to re-instill public trust in our state government,” said Harrell, R-Charleston.

Although Gov. Nikki Haley has directed her cabinet agencies to work with federal authorities in their investigation of the security breach, Harrell said, an “independent outside investigation is needed to answer many of the questions moving forward.”

To restore public trust in state government, Harrell said, the House needs “the most accurate accounting of these concerns, not an agency’s internal best version of what happened. For that to happen, those tough questions need to be answered before this independent outside investigation."

Majority Leader Bruce Bannister, R-Greenville, named chairman of the investigative panel, said the probe “needs to uncover exactly what went wrong so we can take the necessary steps to make sure it doesn't happen again.”

The security breach “let an entire state down,” added Minority Leader Harry Ott, D-Calhoun. “This trust must be earned back and it's up to this investigative committee to start us down the right path."

The hacker, who law enforcement authorities said was based in Russia, stole 74.7 gigabytes of data containing information on individual and business tax returns that had been filed electronically since 1998.

That data includes Social Security and business ID numbers, bank accounts and credit cards listed on tax returns. The latest report shows that information was stolen from 3.8 million individual taxpayers, 1.9 million dependents and 699,900 businesses.

The state has offered victims access to a free credit report service from Experian for one year to guard against potential ID theft.

Other members of the committee are: Rep. Shannon Erickson, R-Beaufort; Rep. Laurie Slade Funderburk, D-Kershaw; Rep. Dwight Loftis, R-Greenville; Rep. James Merrill, R-Berkeley; Rep. Andy Patrick, R-Beaufort; Rep. Ronnie Sabb, D-Williamsburg; Rep. Bakari Sellers, D-Bamberg; and Rep. Gary Simrill, R-York.

Previous coverage

Cyberattack affects at least 657,000 South Carolina businesses
Cyberattack puts IDs of 3.6M South Carolinians at risk
S.C. Revenue Department chief resigns
Haley orders Cabinet agencies to work with state IT division
Senate subcommittee to examine S.C. security breach

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