As more South Carolinians learned that hackers hold their tax return data, Gov. Nikki Haley admitted that the state did not do enough to protect their sensitive financial information and accepted the resignation of the agency director in the middle of the controversy, reports The State newspaper. “Could South Carolina have done a better job? Absolutely, or we would not be standing here,” said Haley, who had insisted in the first days after revealing the cyber attack that nothing could have prevented the breach.
Hackers possess Social Security and other data belonging to 5.7 million people – 3.8 million taxpayers and their 1.9 million dependents, Haley said. The number of businesses affected has risen slightly to nearly 700,000. All of the stolen tax data dating back to 1998 was unencrypted. The theft at the S.C. Department of Revenue is the largest known hacking at a state agency nationwide, according to the San Diego-based Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, which has been collecting breach data since 2005. Thieves also have bank account information belonging to 3.3 million S.C. taxpayers, Haley said. After saying soon after the attack that no one in state government should be blamed, the governor accepted the resignation of revenue department director Jim Etter. Haley blamed the breach on the revenue department’s not using a double-password to log-in and a computer system from the 1970s.