Politics
6:36 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

S.C. Governor: Hackers Stole Tax Info Of Nearly 6 Million

South Carolina governor Nikki Haley says last month hackers compromised tax records as far back as 1998.
Credit USC Upstate/flickr

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley says nearly 6 million residents had their social security and bank account numbers stolen by hackers in a September attack. At a press conference today, Haley released new details from Mandiant, the information security firm hired to investigate the attack.

According to the report, the hackers stole the tax records of 4 million tax filers, 2 million of their dependents, and 700,000 businesses that filed returns between 1998 and 2012. They got over 3 million bank accounts and 5,000 credit cards, according to Haley. But, the governor noted one bright spot in an otherwise grim report.

"This was only only electronic filers, so anyone who filed by paper does not have to worry about this breach," Haley said.

Affected South Carolinians will be notified by mail and e-mail, according to the governor. She also addressed the issue of who’s to blame for the security breach.

"The main question I asked Mandiant yesterday was: 'did we have a chance to do a better job?'" Haley said, "And we did."

The governor pointed to outdated technology and unencrypted social security numbers as the reasons the attack got through. But the governor sees another culprit: the feds. She says their standards are too lax.

"Had I known that IRS compliance meant that our social security numbers were not encrypted, I would have been shocked," she said.

At least one head has now rolled because of the security breach. The governor announced Revenue Chief Jim Etter will leave in December.

Haley didn’t have an update on the search for the cyber attacker, other than to say the investigation is on-going.