Have YOU been harmed by the DOR hacking?

Or do you know anyone who has?

I raised this question, sort of indirectly, earlier — I was questioning the value of Vincent Sheheen trying to get everybody outraged over the hacking, which broke a year ago, when we don’t know whether anyone has been harmed. I was reacting to this passage in an AP story:

It’s unknown if anyone’s identity has been stolen because of the hacking. A Federal Trade Commission attorney has said the selling and trading of stolen information makes it virtually impossible to trace an identity theft case to any particular security breach.

But since that was Friday afternoon, and things I post on Friday afternoons tend to drift off into a vague place, only a few comments were offered, none of them answering the question above.

So, let me know, straight up — do you know of anyone who has good reason to believe he or she was in any way harmed by the breach?

I know someone who has had a terrible time from having her identity stolen, although it happened well before any of this, so I don’t think it’s related.

Someone filed false tax returns for 2011 using my next-to-youngest daughter’s Social Security number and other info. It was a huge hassle getting it all straightened out.

Then, just over a week ago, she got this seriously threatening letter from the IRS saying that she had ignored their previous notices (she had received no previous notices) and that if she didn’t pay more than $7,000 RIGHT NOW her property was going to be seized.

There was no way she had at any time owed the IRS $7,000.

Supposedly, that is now straightened out, also. A guy at the IRS named “Mike” — no surname that I know of — said just to tear up that letter; it was all a mistake. OK, so we’re, um, somewhat reassured. (I assume that if there are any more threats from the IRS, we’re just supposed to say, “Fuggedaboudit. Mike says it’s cool….” We’re counting on Mike being the guy behind the guy.)

I don’t know whether that particular incident is related to the earlier theft or not. I think it is. I’m somewhat confused by the fact that my daughter was out of the country last month, and her purse was stolen — with passport, driver’s license, everything. She had to get a provisional passport from the embassy to get back into the country.

Oh, yes; one other thing — last week I got a notice from Adobe saying that when I bought PhotoShop Express from them several months back, my information was stolen. They want me to sign up for monitoring on their dime, I believe. I guess I’d better get on that; I’ve been busy the last few days and had managed to shove that to the back of my mind…

Unfortunately for Vincent Sheheen, I don’t blame any of these incidents on Nikki Haley.

My point is, people’s identities do get stolen, and it does lead to hassles. So has anyone had any such hassles that they know or merely suspect were related to the Department of Revenue hacking?

And if not, isn’t that sort of odd?

9 thoughts on “Have YOU been harmed by the DOR hacking?

  1. Doug Ross

    It would be next to impossible at this point to tie any stolen identity event back to the DOR hacking situation unless the hackers are caught and confess to specific crimes.

    Please tell me that the Sheheen campaign isn’t going to try and find some rube from the sticks who had his identity stolen and then parade him around as an example of Haley’s mismanagement…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yeah, I hope not. Just getting one guy claiming to be a victim would be pretty lame.

      But I’m just wondering if anybody even has a situation that they have good reason to think resulted from this breach.

      For instance, if somebody starts charging things to my daughter from somewhere in Central America, we’re going to have a pretty good idea that it resulted from her purse being stolen down there.

      Surely there must be some people out there who have had their IDs stolen in the past year, and don’t have any other explanation, who believe that it may have been the DOR thing. I mean, I haven’t even heard about people making that CLAIM, and you’d think there would be thousands coming forward, even if they’re wrong about blaming the DOR breach…

  2. Kathryn Fenner

    Our data was stolen, but we have put a freeze on our credit, so so far, so good. However, given that Professor Fenner is scrupulous about online security, and has taught me likewise, it fries us that the state was so cavalier with our information.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      “Cavalier.” I love that word. It’s just one of those words that is redolent with history. There are so many rich associations.

      I don’t think I’d have fully appreciated it if I hadn’t spoken fluent Spanish as a child. The Spanish version, caballero (which in its everyday use simply means “gentleman,” rather than “knight,” which in itself tells us where our notion of what it is to be a gentleman comes from), is so obviously rooted in the word for “horse,” caballo. Although maybe I could have inferred the association from “cavalry.” (Or maybe it would have hit me in Latin class in high school, when I ran across the word caballus.)

      In any case, the association with knights in armor is fun, if you’re into Arthurian legend, Ivanhoe, etc. It’s also a key to understanding class differences through the ages. Only the wealthy, for the most part, went around mounted on horses, whether in war or peace. Hence the association of nobility, or of privilege, with horses.

      The word also helps us understand why, in chess, the knight is represented by a horsehead — because the horse, even more than armor, is what distinguished a knight. With their armor, knights were — in military terminology — heavy cavalry.

      And then, we get this relatively new twist on the word, in which “cavalier” means having a sort of “let them eat cake” indifference, which rightly or wrongly our republican culture associates with privileged classes.

      Cool word. Thousands of years of very colorful history and culture packed into it.

      So… if someone is being very conscientious with your data, do you say he’s being “roundhead with our information?”

    1. Doug Ross

      I don’t think people understand how many people have access to the data that is stored in supposedly secure systems. In my 30+ years in the IT business, I have yet to visit a customer where there weren’t all sorts of people (mostly contractors) who could gain access to the databases via some means.

      And it’s more than likely that the majority of people working on the backend databases supporting Healthcare.gov are in the U.S. on H1B visas.

      1. Juan Caruso

        Possibly an associate of Dick Harpootlian, too.

        Sometime between now and the election, Vincent Sheheen will be asked about his endorsement of ACA (Obamacare) without reading it. I can hardlly wait for the inevitable dance or dodge.

      2. susanincola

        Well, sure — but in the last 10 years or so the standards have tightened up on this, at least in the banking industry. If we store sensitive data, it is required that it be stored encrypted, and so we developer/dba types can’t read it. Though there are plenty of places where that is not done, even now. Wonder how it is at healthcare.gov? or DOR?


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