Wright County officials: Data breach impacted as many as 72,000 people

December 14, 2018 10:23 PM

Wright County Officials believe as many as 72,000 people were impacted by a data breach involving one of their former employees.

That employee has since been fired, but this week, letters were sent to those affected in the community. 

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According to the county, the employee was trained on protecting citizen data and decided "to not follow policy."

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS spoke to that IT employee, Timothy Lorsung.

RELATED: Wright County employee who accessed private data at home says he 'didn't do anything to it'

When asked if he was responsible for taking the data, Lorsung responded, "Yes, I wanted to work at home."

"I was an hourly employee so after so many hours they said you need to go home," he added.

He stressed the data is safe, adding, "I didn't sell it, didn't do anything to it, there's data in there I didn't even know I had."

Lorsung said he doesn't currently have any of the private data, including social security numbers and financial records. 

Many residents are concerned about the data breach, but some believe the timing of informing the public shows a lack of transparency from county leaders. 

"I was surprised, more worried about the fact that my son's information is floating out there as well," said Kim Williams-Dubois, one of the 72,000 people impacted by this breach.

"It's mind-boggling. I didn't think I'd had to worry about it with the county with a data breach," Williams-Dubois said. "You would think and hope your information would be safe with them."

This week, the county sent a letter to all those affected. But 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS obtained a search warrant that specifically cites that county officials knew about this data breach all the way back in April. 

"I think it's pretty ridiculous that I was just notified if it was in April just because someone could have been out there and could have had my information for eight months," Williams-Dubois said.  
 
Wright County officials stress there's "no evidence" that there was any "sale or distribution of the private data."

In regards to the timing of the release of the information to the public, the county went on to say in a statement: "This case involved numerous data bases and multiple computer systems that were reviewed by computer forensic consultants to determine the scope of the breach and determine the identities of the individuals affected. The multiple data bases also meant that the County did not have addresses associated with many of the individuals impacted, which then had to be obtained before the notices could be sent out."

Lorsung has not been charged with anything, but Wright County officials say there is an active criminal investigation underway. 

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Brett Hoffland

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