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Washington State Court Website Hacked in February – Most Affected Involved in Court Cases

Hackers break into Washington state courts website
(Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

The Washington State Administrative Office of the Courts announced this week its website was hacked back in February and the data of a significant number of persons may have been accessed.

As of Thursday, the office announced at least 94 people are known to have had their Social Security numbers compromised. Up to 160,000 Social Security numbers may have been accessed, and up to one million Washington drivers license numbers as well.

Spokesman Wendy Ferrell said experts can’t tell if the information was simply accessed or if it was actually removed – or downloaded — from the site. Officials originally thought very little information was stolen until the wider Social Security Number breach was confirmed in April.

Aside from the 94 people known to have had their information compromised, Ferrell said the rest of the breach involves three groups of people who’ve been involved in some sort of Washington state court activity. The three groups are (according to Northwest Cable News Network):

  • Those booked into a city or county jail within the state of Washington between September 2011 and December 2012 may have had their name and Social Security number accessed.
  • Names and driver’s license numbers may have been obtained from people who received a DUI citation in Washington state between 1989 through 2011; had a traffic case in Washington filed or resolved in a district or municipal court between 2011 and 2012
  • Had a superior court criminal case in Washington state that was filed against them or resolved between 2011 and 2012.

Since the breach was first discovered in February, and again in April, officials have taken numerous steps to increase security on the website, and are continuing to investigate.  Again, while all such security breaches are serious, officials stress this one appeared to be specifically targeting only people who’ve have the previously listed court cases or activity in Washington. It was not a breach of information involving the general public.

For more information or questions, a website and phone number have been set up by the state:

www.courts.wa.gov/databreach and 1-800-448-5584.

Officials with the Court Administration website did not say if they have any leads or ideas who the hackers were, or where they might be from.

 

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