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    American-Statesman: 3.5 million Texans’ data compromised online

    The American-Statesman reports on a data security breach in Texas:

    Personal and confidential data from 3.5 million Texans getting unemployment checks, teachers, state workers and retirees were left unprotected on the Internet for about a year, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs announced Monday.

    There is no indication that the personal information — Social Security numbers, addresses, dates of birth and more — was misused when it was parked on a publicly accessible server.

    Nevertheless, the Texas attorney general and FBI have opened a criminal investigation, said Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for Attorney General Greg Abbott.

    Combs spokesman R.J. DeSilva said it was human error, not a security breach by a hacker, that caused the problem. The people responsible for the error have been fired, DeSilva said, though he could not say how many people were involved. […]

    This was the second high-profile technological failure at the comptroller’s office in the past year. Last April, thousands of consumers seeking rebates for energy-efficient appliances could not get access through phone banks or a website. That problem was blamed on the outside vendor. […]

    Experts recommended that people flag and monitor credit reports for possible fraud.

    The comptroller’s office will begin sending notifications Wednesday to the people whose information was exposed. The office has also set up a website and toll-free number with additional information.

    The vulnerable data originated with the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, the Employees Retirement System of Texas and the Texas Workforce Commission.

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