About 3.5 million people in Oregon may have had their personal information stolen due to a data breach at the Oregon Department of Transportation, the department warned Thursday.
According to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), the data breach that affects nearly all of the state’s driver’s license and ID card files was part of a global data breach earlier this month involving the data program MOVEit Transfer.
ODOT said they didn’t learn about the breach until this week, June 12, despite the fact that it was disclosed on June 1. Four days after confirming the breach, the agency intended to go public on Friday to prepare staff for incoming questions, as originally reported by The Oregonian.
Thomas Amato, the CIO for ODOT, said they waited to release the news until they were certain of the facts. “Good forensic work does take time, and even on June 12, we’re still talking about preponderance of evidence, enough for us to say there is that we can confirm and actually believe this event is one that’s confirmed and that we are very confident saying happened,” he said.
“Between that time and today [Thursday], we’ve been trying to put in place, things to prepare Oregonians for this announcement and to do that the right way, so we didn’t give too much evidence to the actual threat actors who could use verification of their attack as leverage.”
The DMV, the government claims, cannot determine whether or not a given person’s information was compromised. Authorities warn that anyone possessing an Oregon driver’s license or state ID card should check their credit reports immediately since their data may have been stolen.
“For security purposes, we’re not going to discuss exactly what data points were potentially included in that file,” said Amy Joyce, ODOT DMV Administrator. “What we’re saying is if you have an Oregon driver’s license, ID, permit, driver’s permit, you can assume that data associated with that credential has been compromised.”
Many Oregonians have expressed anxiety over their Social Security numbers, while it is unknown whether anything beyond a license number, photo, or address had been obtained. Ken Westin, a senior information security officer with Panther Labs and a local cyber security expert, has some inquiries of his own.
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“Is it a nation-state attack going after certain individuals? Or is it a sort of crime of convenience where they’re actually looking to monetize that information, again, in these underground forums to compromise identities? When there is a compromise like this, there are a lot of dots they need to connect,” Westin said.
“They need to be able to conduct an investigation, they may even bring in a third party to help do an analysis.” Westin said the breach’s scope is still unclear, but it may only affect the information of certain government personnel (such the mayor’s or governor’s) and not the general public.
He added that it’s possible that millions of people’s private data would be sold to criminals who will use it to steal identities and commit crimes like identity theft and credit card fraud in their victims’ names.
The disclosure of data pertaining to licenses and state IDs is confirmed by the tweet that can be found below:
— KOIN News (@KOINNews) June 15, 2023
The Oregon Department of Transportation recommends that drivers and ID holders review their credit reports for any suspicious activity.
You have the right to a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) if you make the request at annualcreditreport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228. Your credit reports can be frozen at your request.
Westin agrees that swift action is necessary and adds that inactive accounts should be locked. “I know it’s kind of a hassle for some people, but in our day and age – particularly when we’re dealing with identities being compromised like this – it just makes sense,” he said.
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