A message of “this site was hacked” appeared on an otherwise blank screen instead of the normal home page for dew.sc.gov.
DEW has removed the message, but its site has not yet returned to normal status as of midnight.
While site operation was compromised, no information from the state agency or any of its clients was obtained by the perpetrators, reports WLTX in Columbia.
The agency’s IT department classes the incident as a mere “website defacement” – a change to a site’s appearance without any access to stored data from its hosting computer system.
That doesn’t mean a more serious infraction wasn’t attempted, implies department director Abraham J. Turner, who says in DEW’s formal statement on the incident that “a more serious event was averted.
“We take this and any attempts to obtain personal identifying information and sensitive data very seriously,” Turner states.
While still a security breach, this evening’s incident pales in comparison to the full hacking of the computer system of another state agency just two months ago.
In October, hackers illegally accessed the state Dept. of Revenue’s computer system, obtaining personal information of over 3.6 million South Carolina residents, including bank account information, Social Security numbers, and even credit card numbers.
Tonight’s incident is also an improvement in comparable time of response. FITS News reported that it took state government 43 days to notice the hacking of the Dept. of Revenue site.