A data breach at the Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) has put the personal information of thousands of people at risk, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Social Security numbers of as many as 469 people were exposed, as well as personal data on more than 16,000 holders of concealed weapon permits.
The incursion is being blamed on an online payments system into which users could input their Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). The agency believed the break in happened two weeks ago, Jenn Meale, a spokesperson for the agency, said on Monday.
FDACS said it detected the breach within 24 hours of its occurrence. "We were able to identify it quickly and shut the system down," Meale said.
Although Meale said no financial information was compromised, the attackers may have gotten away with the names of 16,190 people with licenses for concealed weapons – and their license number.
Users of the online payment system had the choice of either entering their SSN or FEIN. Those using their SSN were affected by the breach.
Meale stated in a release that the FDACS believed the attack originated overseas, but did not offer details on how the system was penetrated.
Persons impacted by the breach were notified and those whose SSN was exposed were offered a year of free credit monitoring and fraud alert. A help line was set up at (800) 350-1119 for further information.