No new details on hacking from Haley; Investigation ongoing

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) - Gov. Nikki Haley said Monday the state is continuing to investigate the hacking of the revenue department's tax database.

However, she had few answers on how the security breach happened that exposed 3.6 million Social Security numbers and nearly 400,000, saying the information was not encrypted. She said the industry standard is to leave those numbers unencrypted.

"One of our priorities has always been updating IT," Haley said.

State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel said the investigation is ongoing.

"We want to bring someone to justice," he said.

But Keel would not go into details on the investigation, saying it would be inappropriate to respond.Keel did say the reason for the delay in releasing information to the public was due to the agency's desire to protect the investigation.

Keel said Friday the state learned of the breach on Oct. 10 from the Secret Service, but added the hacker could have had access to the system since late August.

The administration took heat after Friday's announcement because many people trying to use the provided phone number and website had trouble getting information and signing up for the free year of identity theft protection from Experian.

Haley said Friday the state had partnered with Experian to offer services.

On Monday, Haley said the state was still negotiating a price of coverage with Experian.

"It's a wholesale rate," she said, adding that the cost to the state and the taxpayers who fund it would depend on how many people sign up for the service.

Haley said the coverage from Experian was retroactive and would completely cover residents who register with past and future protection from hacking. Haley said residents would be put on a family plan covered by the state.

"We'll know a whole lot more six months from now and be able to deal with it," she said."Our goal is to get everyone covered."

The director of the department of revenue, James Etter, will testify before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday afternoon.


How To Get Identity Theft Protection

Residents who have filed taxes with the state can call 1-866-578-5422 to get an activation code for Experian's monitoring services and then enter it at the website with the activation code "SCDOR123".

The call center is open 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM EST on Monday through Friday and 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM EST on Saturday and Sunday.