Columbia, SC — The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce website was taken offline briefly after being hacked Saturday evening.
Authorities were investigating what they called a “defacement” of the site, but stressed that no personal information had been compromised.
The agency said in a statement, “Web site defacement is an attack on a Web site that changes the visual appearance of the site or a Web page. This can be compared to graffiti on a wall.”
The agency also said that the “malicious user” simply “replaced one DEW Web site, the main page, with a message.”
According to the Augusta Chronicle, twelve other websites nationwide had also been hacked.
Web users trying to access the site around 6:30 pm were greeted by a message that said “This Site Was Hacked.” The message was taken down after a little more than an hour, and the site was restored Sunday.
“We take this and any attempts to obtain personal identifying information and sensitive data very seriously,” executive director Abraham J. Turner said. “Due to multiple levels of security the agency has in place, a more serious event was averted. We will continue to monitor, identify and eliminate vulnerabilities.”
This isn’t the first time a South Carolina department website has been hacked. In August, an employee of the Department of Revenue opened an email that led to 3.8 million tax returns being stolen. The Social Security numbers of 1.9 million people, 3.3 million bank accounts, and 699,900 business tax returns had also been compromised. The theft went unreported until October.
Notices began going out to affected taxpayers earlier this month, and all those affected should be notified by the end of the month. Gov. Nikki Haley said the notices would cost $1.3 million.