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One Email Exposes Millions of People to Data Theft in South Carolina Cyberattack

  • NBC News, Wednesday, November 21, 2012 12:59 PM

A single malicious email sent to workers at South Carolina's Department of Revenue enabled a hacker to gain access to the tax returns, social security numbers and bank account information of 3.8 million people. The attack, believed to have originated in Russia, began as a phishing scheme and successfully obtained an employee's user name and password. The hacker then leveraged the login info to gain access to the rest of the department's systems and begin copying large amounts of data onto the internet. South Carolina governor Nikki Haley has called the conditions that allowed the breach "a cocktail for an attack," and has accepted the resignation of the Department of Revenue Director.

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