Large government breach shakes confidence in state security

Eric Vanderburg

On October 10, the Secret Service’s electronic crimes task force discovered that the South Carolina Department of Revenue’s systems were breached in one of the largest government data breaches recorded.  3.6 million Social security numbers along with 657,000 businesses taxpayer records and 387,000 credit and debit card numbers were stolen.

We could be facing a much bigger problem though.  Larry Ponemon, chairman of the Ponemon Institute believes that other States are just as susceptible to the attack as South Carolina.  In an interview with The Post and Courier, he said, “One of the reasons, based on our research, is that the security posture of government organizations tends to be inferior of that of commercial organizations.”

Those investigating the data breach found that most of the data was not encrypted and the attacker had penetrated the network for over a month before the intrusion was detected. Think of your systems and cyber security in light of this incident.  Is there sensitive information on your network that is not encrypted?  Would you know if there was an intrusion?  What would you do if a data breach occurred?

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