SC agency: HR employee downloaded sensitive information - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

SC agency: HR employee downloaded sensitive information

COLUMBIA, SC (AP) -

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is investigating the unauthorized download of sensitive information belonging to approximately 4,600 current and former Department and Workforce employees, beneficiaries and dependents.

On Dec. 18, security software detected unauthorized downloads to a flash drive, containing personal identifying information, a spokesperson for the agency said Wednesday.

"The information was downloaded from human resource files by a human resource employee, in direct violation of agency policy," said DEW spokesperson Adrienne Fairwell.

SLED opened an investigation the next day.

The incident impacted 4,658 current and former employees, and their dependents and beneficiaries, Fairwell said.

Data contained in the downloaded files consisted of human resources information which may have included names, addresses, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers. Some files also contained payroll information, including personal financial account information, benefits and beneficiary data, and other types of sensitive data.

Fairwell said SLED recovered what could be the removable media device that was used to copy the files. Investigators have not yet determined if the information was moved from that device or if it has been used in any other way.

DEW began notifying the people who were impacted on Jan. 15.

"This is exactly what should have happened," said Cheryl M. Stanton, Executive Director of the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce. "Our security measures detected these downloads and DEW promptly began a full investigation. We don't know that the information has been further compromised, but out of an abundance of caution we are notifying those employees and individuals impacted so they can take necessary measures to protect themselves, including signing up for the state's free credit monitoring."

"We worked with SLED for the last month to the fullest extent possible on the investigation to make sure we had the most accurate information to give employees, including reviewing each and every file to identify each individual impacted."

Fairwell said the employee, who was fired on Tuesday, was authorized to view the information, but not permitted to download it.

Copyright 2014 WIS. All rights reserved.

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