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November 14, 2012

Haley orders more state computer security

All South Carolina cabinet agencies will start using computer security services from the state computer technology office and a new computer monitoring program from an outside firm, Gov. Nikki Haley ordered Wednesday.

All South Carolina cabinet agencies will start using computer security services from the state computer technology office and a new computer monitoring program from an outside firm, Gov. Nikki Haley ordered Wednesday.

Network monitoring can spot unusual uploads or downloads and malicious programs within minutes, the Division of State Information Technology said. The state is hiring four additional employees to help with 24/7 monitoring, Haley said.

South Carolina also will pay $160,000 for a program nicknamed “The Hand” by Washington-based security firm Mandiant that can shut down computers infected with viruses and malware.

South Carolina’s more than 100 agencies have been able to decide on their own computer security measures before hackers stole state tax information belonging 4.45 million consumers and businesses from the Department of Revenue two months ago.

The state IT division already works with 54 agencies -- about half of the state’s total -- as well as a number cities, counties and school districts.

Haley’s order covers the 16 cabinet she oversees. Some already worked with state technology office.

Before the cyber attack, the revenue department office had partial network monitoring but not at the computer struck by hackers. The entire revenue department started using the network monitoring after the state learned of the hacking.

The department said it has used an outside firm, Trustwave, since 2005 to perform periodic scans of the computer system because the Chicago company met rules to deal with credit-card data,

The department has not said if Trustwave provided network monitoring, Officials are releasing the Trustwave contract later Wednesday along with the state’s agreement with Experian, worth up to $12 million, to provide free credit monitoring for state taxpayers dating back to 1998.

Hackers stole the tax information in mid-September but the state did not learn about it until a month later when informed by the Secret Service.

The state IT division can provide network monitoring at no cost through a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security,

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