2nd recent, large DHS data breach affects 3K people

2nd recent, large DHS data breach affects 3K people Photo: Minnesota Department Human Services

January 31, 2019 01:10 PM

A compromised email account at the Department of Human Services potentially exposed the information of up to 3,000 people according to an update released Tuesday.

According to a letter from the department to legislators, the account was compromised during a phishing scam in September.


The hacker used a county worker's work email account to send a seemingly legitimate email to the DHS employee. The employee clicked on the link contained in the email, which then allowed the hacker to gain access to the employee's account and to send spam messages that may have accessed information stored in that employee's account.

That information may have included private data about DHS employees and clients, including names, birthdates, phone numbers, email and mailing addresses. Additionally Social Security number, driver's license number, and limited financial information of about 30 people were also in the account when it was compromised.

MNIT officials investigated the incident in October and met with DHS officials in November.

A private contractor was then hired to investigate, completing its work Jan. 4. A letter was sent to victims and legislators Tuesday and Wednesday.

According to the DHS, the breach was the second major data breach experienced by the agency "in recent history."

More from KSTP.com:

New Probe Launched into DHS' 'Serious Data Breach'

State Officials Grill DHS on Latest Data Breach

21,000 Minnesotans Warned of Hack on State Computers

DHS officials stated there was "no evidence the information contained in the email accounts involved in either of these breaches was viewed, downloaded, or misused in any way."

"We respect and value the privacy of the Minnesotans we serve and sincerely regret any concern or other negative impact this incident may cause," Commissioner Tony Lourey wrote in a letter.

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Rebecca Omastiak

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