Social Security numbers for up to 469 people and information about thousands of concealed weapons holders were exposed in a data breach at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The breach, which the agency believes happened about two weeks ago, occurred in an online payments system, spokesperson Jenn Meale said Monday.
"We were able to identify it quickly and shut the system down," Meale said in an interview. FDACS discovered the breach within 24 hours of it occurring.
Additionally, the attacker may have obtained 16,190 names of people with concealed weapons licenses, some of which had the accompanying license number. Meale noted that no financial information was compromised.
The information came from an online payment system where users could input their Federal Employer Identification Number. Before 2009, users had the option to enter either their Social Security number or their FEIN. Some continued to enter their Social Security number after 2009, which were then affected by the breach. The count may be slightly lower than 469 Social Security numbers, however, as some may have been FEINs.
In a release, the Meale said the agency believes the attack came from overseas, but would not elaborate nor say how the attacker may have gained access to the system.
"The department takes cybersecurity seriously and acted quickly to mitigate the effects of this breach. The privacy of the department's customers is a top priority and will remain so," the release said.
Those affected by the breach were notified, and the 469 people whose Social Security numbers may have been compromised were offered credit monitoring and fraud alert for one year. Anyone who may have been affected can call (800) 350-1119 for further information.