More details emerge on Macon-Bibb personal data leak

Job applicants from four years ago vulnerable

jgaines@macon.comApril 11, 2014 

The personal information leak from Macon-Bibb County government was broader than was apparent at first, according to a memo sent out Friday.

“On early reviews of the information that was exposed, it appears that information was linked to the online application module used by the former City of Macon, meaning it could impact people that applied for jobs with the City going back four years,” Macon-Bibb spokesman Chris Floore wrote.

Information Technology staff said the leak apparently happened when city and county computer systems were being merged. An anonymous tip about the data leak came in April 1.

“This breach has resulted in the potential exposure of people’s personal information, including Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, and birth certificates,” Floore wrote.

Macon-Bibb officials began notifying all current employees on Friday, giving them a list of safety tips for their personal data, and the Human Resources and IT departments are putting together a notification list of previous applicants whose information is known to have been visible.

IT Director Stephen Masteller said the government will have a third party do a penetration and security audit of Macon-Bibb systems.

Meanwhile, the information shouldn’t be visible any longer.

“The data has been removed from the web and database server that the hosted the files. The files are no longer accessible to external sources, the web server has been locked down internally, and all files are now offline and encrypted,” Floore’s memo said. “We submitted a request to Google to have the information removed from their search engine and cached pages, and that request was fulfilled on April 3. Additionally, IT staff have been running searches across other search engines to determine if the information was available anywhere else.”

The full memo is posted at www.maconbibb.us/network-security-breach, with data safety tips at www.ftc.gov/idtheft.

Floore recommended that those affected get a free copy of their annual credit reports at www.annualcreditreport.com.

“You will also have the ability to place a fraud alert on your credit report,” he said. “If you see any suspicious activity, contact local law enforcement and, if necessary, request a credit freeze.”

Further questions can be directed to Desmond Schneider in the Human Resources Department at 751-2720 or dschneider@maconbibb.us.

To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.

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