State Officials Grill DHS on Latest Data Breach

October 17, 2018 06:42 PM

On Wednesday, state leaders addressed two recent data breaches at the Department of Human Services.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS first reported last week as many as 21,000 low-income Minnesotans on medical assistance may have had personal information compromised.

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RELATED: 21,000 Minnesotans Warned of Hack on State Computers

It was back on June 28 and July 9 that two DHS employees clicked on a link in an email, which led hackers into the accounts, potentially compromising data that could include social security numbers, phone numbers, medical information and much more.

"Could you please try and help us connect why there was such a failure here of four months before folks were notified of the compromising situation of their private data?" asked Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, (R) Big Lake.

 

The chief privacy official for DHS was there and took a few questions. 

"Once we got that big world of emails that needed to be reviewed then we assigned staff and attorneys to review each and every email in order to identify each and every individual that may have been affected by these incidents. That process took, frankly, a long time, we wanted to do a good job, I believe that we did do a good job," said Leah Flygare.

RELATED: Minnesota DHS Subject to Two Data Breaches, Officials Say

To the question of the gap in time to notify those affected, Flygare said once they learned of the potential breach, they immediately worked to identify each individual who may have been affected. She stresses it's a process that simply takes time. 

"We worked as hard as we can, certainly moving forward we'll try to figure out how to move even faster but certainly it wasn't for a lack of diligence on the part of DHS to get those individual notifications out," Flygare said. 

DHS said they aren't aware of any misuse of the information that may have been compromised.

If you have questions or feel you may be a victim, DHS set up a hotline and they say they've already received hundreds of calls.

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