Government Should Notify Data Breach Victims | #computerhacking | #hacking

(TNS) — The question of whether hackers can access the personal data of Pennsylvanians through state agencies isn’t theoretical because the government doesn’t operate in a vacuum.

In the spring of 2021 for example, the Department of Health acknowledged that names, birth dates, counties of residence, and personal health details of as many as 72,000 Pennsylvanians had been exposed online by a vendor, Insight Global, that the DOH had hired for $25 million to conduct contact tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

And the Pennsylvania case was relatively minor compared with some others. In 2011, for example, the Texas Office of the Comptroller acknowledged a data breach regarding personal information of 3.5 million people, including their Social Security and driver’s license numbers. In 2006, Social Security numbers and other personal information of 26.5 million were exposed online through misplaced laptop computer.

Government agencies themselves and innumerable contractors have access to vast amounts of information on individual state residents. And globally, government agencies are heavily targeted by hackers for political and financial reasons.

It’s important for individuals to know when a company, such as a retailer with credit card data, or a government agency or one of its contractors has been hacked and personal information is at risk.

The state Senate has passed a bill that would require state contractors to notify the appropriate state agency within seven days of discovering a relevant data breach, and require those state agencies to notify potentially affected individuals. The House should pass the bill to help Pennsylvanians protect their data.

© 2022 The Citizens’ Voice (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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