SC hacking bill heads to Senate floor
Mar 20, 2013 (The State (Columbia - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A bill that could give victims of the nation's largest-ever hacking of a state agency 10 years of free credit monitoring is heading to the S.C. Senate floor.
The measure approved unanimously by the Senate finance committee Tuesday also would create a department of information security to oversee protection of state computer networks and add an identity theft unit to the S.C. Department of Consumer Affairs.
Lawmakers are responding to hackers stealing financial information belonging to 6.4 million consumers, children and businesses from the S.C. Department of Revenue by hackers last fall.
The bill also would allow South Carolinians also could take a tax credit of $300 for individual filers and $1,000 for joint filers to purchase credit monitoring, protection and resolution services and create a pair of committees to recommend statewide technology and cyber security policies.
Sen. Harvey Peeler, R-Cherokee, said he was concerned about the new staffing and layers of government: "I have not seen this much creation since Genesis."
Senate Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, said he did not know how much the new cyber security arm and staffing would cost, but "whatever the initial cost is, it's a down payment on a long process."
The state House has set aside $25 million in the budget to pay cyber-security costs.
Leatherman expects the state could spend "hundreds of millions" in the future to resolve the hacking and prevent any future cyber-attacks.
"We can't close the door this time, but I'm sure we can keep the door closed next time," he said.
Sen. Kevin Bryant, an Anderson Republican who co-chaired a special committee examining the data breach, said called the hacking a "lifetime problem" since personal information belonging to children, including Social Security numbers, were stolen in the tax records.
A special House committee also probing the breach has not introduced a bill, though lawmakers have introduced bills to create a computer security office and develop a fund to reimburse identity-theft victims.
House Majority Leader Bruce Bannister, R-Greenville, said a bill might not be necessary since government restructuring proposals would put computer networks and security under the authority of the governor.
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