Democratic lawmakers are calling for an independent investigation into the hacking scandal surrounding the Department of Revenue, saying Gov. Nikki Haley’s office can’t be trusted to give accurate information about how the security breach happened or how it can be fixed.
“All we’ve seen [from the governor's office] is a bunch of duckin’, dodgin’, weavin’ and excuse-makin’,” said Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D-Kershaw), echoing Dodgeball’s Patches O’Houlihan.
For example, the governor’s office waited more than two weeks after to inform the public that millions of Social Security numbers and other personal information had been stolen. Once the cat was out of the bag, we were first told the hack was unpreventable, only to learn that the State Information Office offered to monitor the Department of Revenue’s system — but was refused. In addition, DOR didn’t encrypt Social Security numbers even though other states do.
We were also initially told that only Social Security numbers were stolen, no business records were stolen, and that the Internet wasn’t used in the hacking attack. All of those claims turned out to be false as information trickled out through the news media.
The lawmakers also said the governor’s office tried to blame the Internal Revenue Service standards for not requiring South Carolina to encrypt Social Security numbers. The IRS does encrypt SSNs on its own system, however, and recommends that other agencies do the same.
This week, we learned that the entire security breach could have prevented if the state had spent $25,000 on a dual-password system. In addition, we also learned that the Department of Revenue left their Information Security Officer position open for nearly a year.
Sheheen and Rep. James Smith (D-Richland) called for an independent investigation into the hacking scandal and the Haley Administration’s response. “It’s time to take the politicians out of the loop,” Sheheen said. “Because if you can’t trust them to tell you what went wrong, how can we trust them to tell us its been fixed?”
Sheheen and Smith also criticized the year’s worth of identity theft protection offered by the state, and demanded that the state give South Carolinians a five-year tax credit covering the cost of additional identity protection.
Watch their press conference below: