Last week, it was uncovered that a server holding taxpayer and credit card information belonging to South Carolina residents was breached by an international hacker, Revealing 387,000 credit cards and 3.6 million social security numbers. The company employed by the US Secret Service to investigate the breach, Mandiant, has now found that up to 657,000 businesses may also have been compromised.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley confirmed that businesses were affected during a news conference this week, but declared that from the batch of data currently available, 657,000 was the maximum number and that due to repeats of data, the number of businesses effected could be lower.
Haley and the state Department of Revenue is now the subject of a class-action suit headed up by former Richland County Senator John Hawkings, who runs Hawkings Law Firm.
“For Governor Haley to say this hacking was not preventable is like saying we can’t prepare for hurricanes because we don’t know they’re coming. In this day and age, we know we’re going to get a certain amount of hurricanes, and we know hackers are going to try to get our information. That’s why we take reasonable steps to prepare for both.”
Hawkings reported the breach as a Category 5 “cyber hurricane”, and founded the lawsuit on Haley and the department being negligent to prevent the breach and failing to give notice to the public of it in a timely manner.
According to the Associated Press, Haley has since called off her campaign in support for Mitt Romney in order to concentrate on the hacking investigation.