Columbia, SC - WFMY News 2's Sister Station, WLTX, has uncovered an overseas plot to steal the identities of millions of people in South Carolina.
State and Federal officials confirmed that one of the South Carolina Department of Revenue's servers was hacked by someone in a foreign country.
The agency is responsible for 32 separate state taxes, licenses, and your state income tax returns that contains your information.
The first breach occurred on August 27, 2012 but officials say no information was taken at that time. On October 10, the SC Division of Information Technology informed the Dept. of Revenue of a potential cyber attack. On October 16, investigators uncovered two attempts to probe the system from September. In mid-September, two other intrusions occurred, and the hacker got data for the first time.
An estimated 3.6 million Social Security numbers and 387,000 credit and debit card numbers were exposed. 16,000 of these credit card numbers were not encrypted. None of the Social Security numbers were encrypted.
A spokeswoman with the Department of Revenue says it wasn't their policy to encrypt social security numbers and only credit cards given after 2003 were encrypted.
With a security breach of this scale, News 2 wanted to know-- Is our information protected?
We took that question to Tracy Doaks, Applications Development Manager for North Carolina Department of Revenue.
She says everything that goes through the Department of Revenue's server is encrypted and that no taxpayer information is in a clear state. She says there is also no internet access to the integrated tax system and that there are firewalls in place to keep hackers out.
Doaks says hackers scan and probe our state's site several hundred times a day, but there has been no breaks in security.
In South Carolina, the database that houses tax records was hacked into, even though there was a firewall protecting it.
SC State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel told WLTX exclusively that this is one of the biggest investigations he has ever been a part of in his career.
Mandiant, a top information security company, says they are assisting in the investigation. They are also helping to secure the state's system, and are installing new equipment and software.
Meanwhile, Governor Nikki Haley promised action against the person responsible. "I want that man just brutalized," she said. "I want him slammed against the wall."
Haley issued an executive order where she outlines areas where she wants the state's cyber security to improve.
Related: SC Dept of Revenue Server Hacked
WFMY News 2, WLTX