900,000 Possible Victims Of Identity Theft
On March 30, 2012, officials in Utah discovered that one of their health department servers had been breached that contained personal information, including Social Security numbers. State officials first believed that only 24,000 people were affected.
Since the hacking occurred, officials have reviewed the data contained on the server and estimate that nearly 900,000 people have been compromised. These health files include such personal data as: full names, addresses, birth dates and Social Security numbers.
What is further alarming is the fact that many of these names and Social Security numbers belong to children, making it much harder to track identity theft.
Traced to a computer in Eastern Europe, hackers were able to bypass a password protected server and access all these medical records, including Medicaid verification records, before being shut out. The state has issued a statement that it has multiple levels of protection on their servers, but the technician in charge for this particular server installed a password that did not meet security protocol.
This latest figure of 900,000 victims is the third figure issued by the state in regard to this case. At first it was believed that only 24,000 identities were compromised, followed by an adjustment to 182,000. The state has commented that they believe the number will not increase anymore because all files have been reviewed.
Since the breach occurred, the state has checked security protocol on all of their other servers, including those outside of the Health Department, and has found that no other breaches have taken place.
Residents of Utah that have had their identity compromised by this hacking will be immediately notified by the state. Those people whose Social Security numbers were posted in the files will take precedent over those who only had personal information stolen. Parents will be notified if their children’s numbers or information has been stolen.
The state is offering one free year of credit monitoring to all people that were affected by this hacking incident. They are encouraging everyone to immediately contact the three major credit bureaus and notify them that they are victims of identity theft.
The state is currently trying to create a program with one of the credit bureaus to register a child’s Social Security number that has been stolen and block any type of credit activity until they reach adulthood.
Utah also has a website where fraud victims can go to register their identity theft and create a legal affidavit. This affidavit will help reduce the amount of time required to fight fraudulent charges on your credit report that are a result of identity theft.