Published Nov. 15, 2012
The state government has taken new security measures to counter data breaches after learning 4.5 million individual and business tax returns on file at the S.C. Department of Revenue may have been exposed to a cyberattack launched from outside the United States
Gov. Nikki Haley on Wednesday ordered her Cabinet agencies to work with the Division of State Information Technology to implement 24-hour-a-day network monitoring aimed at intervention and interruption of unusual events or viruses.
The governor’s office said it’s encouraging agencies that are not a part of her Cabinet to work with the state IT division to identify weaknesses in current network monitoring and put stronger monitoring services into effect where needed.
Network monitoring identifies potential security breaches, such as the downloading of viruses and malware; collects and monitors network traffic; and intercedes and interrupts the download of detected viruses and malware to a specific network computer. Network monitoring also collects and correlates the information across all agencies to better identify trends and common IT vulnerabilities.
Once a potential threat or attack is identified, the IT division will notify the agency and request that agency’s staff remove the infected computer from the network and begin remediation action, Haley’s office said.
Agency networks will be monitored around the clock by the state IT division staff and by six agency personnel who will be dedicated to this task.
“If they see any suspicious activity, if they see anything that is wrong, they will be able to move in immediately and do something about it,” Haley said.
The network monitoring device that will be employed is the Mandiant Intelligent Response appliance.
Personnel costs will be shared by the IT division and state agencies that are involved in the monitoring effort, Haley said. The Mandiant appliance, which costs $160,000, will be paid for from money the federal Department of Homeland Security has allocated to the state, Haley said.
Haley said she’s pushing to have the added security measures in place in 60 days.
As of Wednesday, the Experian call center set up to assist South Carolina taxpayers had received 775,500 calls and approximately 789,500 signups for Experian’s ProtectMyID program, Haley said.
About 657,000 businesses and 3.8 million individuals have had their tax information jeopardized by a cyberattack on Revenue Department computers.
Access to unlimited fraud resolution beyond the one-year enrollment period is included in Experian’s ProtectMyID membership and available to any taxpayer affected by DOR’s information security breach.
Taxpayers who sign up for protection will also be notified — by email or letter — about how to sign up for a “Family Secure Plan” if they claim minors as dependents.
Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. offers South Carolina businesses that have filed a tax return since 1998 a free CreditAlert product that will alert customers to changes taking place in their business credit file. Business owners can visit http://www.dandb.com/sc/ or call customer service toll free at 1-800-279-9881 to sign up.
Taxpayers who have filed a South Carolina return since 1998 can call 1-866-578-5422 or visit http://www.protectmyid.com/scdor to enroll in a consumer protection service. Enter the code “SCDOR123” when prompted. South Carolina taxpayers have until the end of January to sign up.