Revenue chief resigns over security breach

Nov. 21, 2012 at 12:27 PM
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COLUMBIA, S.C., Nov. 21 (UPI) -- A computer breach that exposed the financial information of millions of South Carolina taxpayers has prompted the state revenue director to step down.

Gov. Nikki Haley said she has accepted the resignation of Jim Etter as head of South Carolina's Department of Revenue, The (Columbia, S.C.) Statesman reported Wednesday.

Haley admitted the state dropped the ball when it came to protecting residents' sensitive financial information.

"Could South Carolina have done a better job? Absolutely, or we would not be standing here," Haley said.

Hackers gained Social Security numbers and bank account information belonging to more than 3 million South Carolina taxpayers and their dependents.

A computer forensic firm hired by the state said hackers duped a revenue department employee to click on a link in an Aug. 13 email, triggering a program that allowed access to the employee's username and password.

The crooks stole the passwords of three other employees and then uploaded files on Sept. 13 and 14, accessing the system eight times, the forensic team said.

The South Carolina theft is the largest known hacking of a state agency in the country, according to the San Diego-based Privacy Rights Clearinghouse that collects breach data.

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