By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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The Associated Press
OLYMPIA — The state Administrative Office of the Courts was hacked in February, and up to 160,000 Social Security numbers and 1 million driver’s license numbers may have been accessed during the data breach of its public website.
Officials with the courts said Thursday that it has been confirmed that 94 Social Security numbers were obtained.
Initially, authorities didn’t think confidential information was taken, but following an investigation by the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center, the broader breach was confirmed in April, said courts spokeswoman Wendy Ferrell.
Once the breach was confirmed, it took some time to go through the files while increasing security to the website, she said.
The 94 people are being contacted by letter, she said.
The rest of those who are potentially affected come from a defined group:
■ Those booked into a city or county jail within the state between September 2011 and December 2012 may have had their name and Social Security number accessed.
■ Names and driver’s license numbers may have been obtained from people who received a DUI citation in Washington state between 1989 through 2011; had a traffic case in Washington filed or resolved in a district or municipal court between 2011 and 2012; or had a Superior Court criminal case in Washington state that was filed against them or resolved between 2011 and 2012.
Ferrell said no one from the Administrative Office of the Courts or any court in the state will be asking for personal information over the phone or via email related to the breach.
State officials have set up a website and hotline to answer public questions about the break: www.courts.wa.gov/databreach and 800-448-5584.
Ferrell said there is no active law enforcement investigation at this time, but people who believe they are at risk should take precautions to monitor credit.
Michael Cockrill, the state’s chief information officer, said security experts have determined there were no breaches at state agencies, which are on a separate network.
“Cybersecurity and cyberterrorism attacks continue to rise in number and sophistication every year, affecting the private and public sector, and countless individuals,” Cockrill said in a written statement.
“The AOC data breach is a sobering reminder for every branch and every level of government that protection of personal and confidential data entrusted to government is a paramount responsibility.”
Cockrill said Gov. Jay Inslee has directed his office and Consolidated Technology Services in the executive branch to assist the Office of the Courts to enhance the security of its judicial data.
State courts officials have warned that the Social Security numbers and names of those booked into a city or county jail in Washington state between September 2011 and December 2012 may have been accessed during the data breach discovered in February.
A breakdown of potentially affected individuals by county is not available.
The driver's license numbers of up to 1 million others who had DUI citations from 1989 through 2011 or have had cases in Municipal, District or Superior Courts between 2011 and 2012 also may have been accessed, the state said.
Court officials do not believe these larger groups were affected, though they said they've let the public know as a precaution.
Clallam County jail Superintendent Ron Sukert said Thursday his jail processed 4,184 bookings from Sept. 1, 2011, to Dec. 31, 2012, though some individuals may have been booked multiple times.
“It sounds like a huge breach of public trust, to tell you the truth,” Sukert said of the hack.
Forks Police Chief Rick Bart said Thursday that 748 people were booked into the Forks jail during the same time period.
“I think that's pretty serious,” Bart said, referring to the data breach.
Jefferson County jail Superintendent Steve Richmond said his jail saw 1,180 bookings from September 2011 to December 2012, with multiple bookings for some people.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.