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Driver's License Numbers for Nearly 500,000 People May Have Been Exposed in Suffolk, NY Cyberattack

A data breach at the Office of Vital Statistics in Suffolk County may have exposed driver's license numbers for nearly 500,000 people.

The breach happened in November when a former employee reported that someone had been using their credentials to access confidential files from a shared drive.

In response, the county agency shut down all its computer systems and launched an investigation. And now they're offering free credit monitoring for about 477,000 drivers with licenses issued between July 1 and October 31 last year.

"This is not just an attack on the Office of Vital Statistics- it is an attack on our entire community," said County Executive Steve Bellone during a news conference Friday morning.

The data breach only affected information that had to do with driver's licenses. According to the county, it didn't include Social Security numbers or credit cards.

A state investigation is ongoing, but investigators said they've determined that "the person responsible for this incident obtained files from an employee who had access to the OVS computer system."

Searching the shared drives, state detectives say they've uncovered evidence that suggests "evidence of a password change on October 1, 2017." But they still need to figure out who did it or why. "Additional evidence may indicate that unauthorized access occurred before October 2017," officials said in a statement. "We will continue to follow up on leads and request additional information to help uncover the facts."

The stolen data appears to have been divided into several files before it was disseminated. According to investigators, the files that contain only partial driver's license numbers have already been submitted as part of an affidavit in court.

While the investigation is ongoing, Bellone urges people to take precautions: "A short-term precautionary measure is simply changing your passwords on all Suffolk County websites, including checking your credit report from all three major credit bureaus.

Driver's License

Submitted by Robert James on Wed, 11/30/2022 - 10:36