SC Hacked: A $3 Million Mailing

“YOU’VE GOT MAIL,” SOUTH CAROLINA Add another $3 million to the rising cost of “SC Hacked” – the unprecedented state-level security breach that rocked the S.C. Department of Revenue earlier this year.  Why $3 million? That’s how much taxpayers are shelling out so that Nikki Haley’s cabinet agency can let…


Add another $3 million to the rising cost of “SC Hacked” – the unprecedented state-level security breach that rocked the S.C. Department of Revenue earlier this year.  Why $3 million? That’s how much taxpayers are shelling out so that Nikki Haley’s cabinet agency can let them know it coughed up their personal information.

Haley has previously spent $12 million on a controversial no-bid contract with Experian – a credit monitoring firm.

According to our sources, SCDOR – which recently surrendered 3.8 Social Security numbers, 3.3 million bank account numbers, tax info for more than 650,000 businesses and nearly 400,000 credit and debit card numbers to as-yet-unidentified hackers – sought an estimate from the S.C. Budget and Control Board regarding the cost of the mass mailing.

Millions of South Carolinians who had their information stolen will begin receiving the letters next week.

Wait … why not just email the information?  Wouldn’t that be cheaper?

Ummm … well, in addition to the obvious inability of SCDOR to ensure secure electronic communication, there was a concern that South Carolinians might delete the emails thinking that they were part of a scam.

Nice …

“SC Hacked” has been a major disaster for Haley.  Not only in the sheer volume of information taken – and the damage that info could do to individual taxpayers and businesses – but also in Haley’s mishandling of the situation.

Haley initially claimed that “there wasn’t anything where anyone in state government could have done anything” to stop the breach – and that the Palmetto State used “industry standard” data security methods.  Both of those claims turned out to be completely false – as a simple $25,000 expense could have prevented the breach (which will wind up costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars).

How much?

Early estimates are in the $300-400 million price range, although we expect those projected costs to rise.


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Inletman December 7, 2012 at 1:22 pm

I agree that a letter is best. I delete numerous e-mails without opening due to spam concerns. Still a huge cluster mess.

Knows in Myrtle Beach December 7, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Can you believe this shit??? (Harry) Cooper’s Folly continues to cost SC. Mr. Blume ….. watch your back ….

sweepin December 7, 2012 at 1:40 pm

“Wait … why not just email the information? Wouldn’t that be cheaper?”

Assuming that they have every taxpayer’s email is a mighty strong assumption. It’s also laughingly simple and erroneous.

Thomas December 7, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Sending an email would be the epitome of ignorance. Email would solidify critical nihilist’s charges of not having a clue. I would expect this from a Democrat administration. Imagine catching a virus because you opened a SCDOR email. Food for thought. Snail mail is best considering…..

Inletman December 7, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Question?? Does SC have someone checking to make sure the ones signing up for free Experian protection are indeed SC residents or that they have filed in SC?

Orangeblood December 7, 2012 at 3:25 pm

One would think the folks who have already signed up for the Experian monitoring are aware of the leak and would not need to be notified. That would reduce the mailings by several hundred thousand.

Lawn Sharts December 7, 2012 at 3:47 pm

…“there wasn’t anything where anyone in state government could have done anything”…

this statement will be the albatross around her neck two years hence.

Blunder December 7, 2012 at 4:18 pm

The entire fiasco is the direct result of DOR Deputy Director Harry Cooper’s decision to keep an incompentent CIO, Mike Garon, at the helm of DOR’s IT operations for as long as he did.

It is time for Mr. Cooper to admit his mistake in keeping Mr. Garon and allowing him to spend massive amounts of money, take on a project called the SC Business One Stop (SCBOS) which sucked even more resources away from the key mission of DOR, make horrible IT decisions and run the entire IT operations in the ground! The place is rampant with highly-paid IT contractors with no accountability.

Director Etter has resigned and the sad part about it is that it was Mr. Cooper running the day to day operations. I hope that the new Director will come in and clean house. There is plenty around that place that has been swept under the rug for years.

It’s about time that the lights come on and the roaches scatter!

Knows in Myrtle Beach December 7, 2012 at 5:26 pm

@Blunder – You must have a good connection. I have talked to numerous employees, past and present, and have found that most of the waste and incompetence at the DOR over the past 10-15 years can be blamed on Cooper. They also say he has surrounded himself with other incompetents while getting rid of knowledgeable staff.

Apparently he is still sucking the state dry as an ex-TERI, state retiree hire back, making another $130,000 per year. Every person I talk to at DOR says he only looks out for himself and is constantly looking for ways to intimidate employees. They wish Etter had stayed and Cooper resigned.

What a prick this asshole seems to be.

Embarrassed at the DOR December 7, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Blunder and Knows, you guys are right. Cooper is a prick. He’s been a dictator around the DOR and after this mess, everyone is praying the dumbass takes a big fall and is shown the door.

He has been the driver of the car that has been wrecked and without a steering wheel for the last 7 years. I used to be proud to tell people where I worked, but because of this mess, I don’t tell anybody. We have probably wasted at least $10 million over the past 6 or 7 years on internal systems that has been fruitless.

Why this money wasn’t spent on security is beyond imagination. Cooper and Garon are cut out of the same cloth. They are both self important, prissy little assholes.

Blunder December 7, 2012 at 10:36 pm

All the money was spent on high-priced contract employees while dedicated employees were just plain screwed. Hiring foreign contractors with huge salaries and paying the legal fees for their H1B Work Visas. There are plenty of US citizens in the IT field capable of doing this contract work.

All this while Cooper and his cronies dished out the money. Etter was clueless the whole time- a very nice person but he trusted the wrong people, like Cooper.

I don’t think that I have seen a copy of the Haley Inspector General report that was completed on DOR security earlier this year. It was a glowing review!!! Now they want to hide that because it makes Haley and her Inspector General look like idiots.

Becca M. December 10, 2012 at 8:05 am

All these DOR employees and no one mentions the fact that numerous ridiculously easy to fix flaws in security were put in place by a former Security Manager. When he ran away nothing changed – it wasn’t like you were secure and then someone undid all his work. Security was a joke. I would love to see that IG’s “Glowing Review”.

Ronald McDonald December 7, 2012 at 9:25 pm

You’re all right, Cooper is a gold plated arrogant, self-promoting, horse’s ass! Mr. Blume better have a big supply of soap-on-a-rope because Cooper will screw him in a heartbeat and not have the decency to give him a reach around.

Blunder December 7, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Well said!

Phonebooth Bob December 8, 2012 at 7:56 am


Isn’t it a federal law that when personal id info is lost, you have to notify in writing?

Ralph Hightower December 8, 2012 at 12:53 pm


Don’t forget the children!

Surely, when your daughter was born, she was born with a government issued Social Security Number. After all, the IRS wants to know that you are claiming legitimate deductions on your Federal tax return.

According to the numbers that I read, the Social Security Numbers of dependents that were stolen totaled 1.9 million. That makes the total tally for stolen Social Security Numbers at nearly 6 million!

CuriousLogic December 22, 2012 at 6:34 pm

How can that be ? The total population of SC is only 4,679,230. Does your count come from voter registration rolls ?

Libb December 8, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Seems Mr Cooper has another job as well:

“Harry Cooper is a native of South Carolina and serves as the Evening Program Coordinator for the Division of Business, Mathematics and Sciences at Columbia College. In addition, he is an Adjunct Professor teaching Business Ethics, Business Law and Federal Income Tax Accounting.”

Blunder December 8, 2012 at 9:32 pm

And don’t think that he doesn’t do his College business on DOR time either! I bet he goes to work at DOR and uses his time and other resources (email, fax, phone, computer, paper, etc) to do his Columbia College work.

Teaching Business Ethics? That is a joke!

Embarrassed at the DOR December 9, 2012 at 10:35 am

He comes in late on some days after having taught a class at Columbia College. He tells people he stays late after hours to make up for time he spent teaching. Any time he spends after hours is just ass kissing time with the Director. He is a master at this.

This hacking incident is an exclamation point on his career. He has never cared about anyone other than himself and the employees at the DOR know it.

Please leave Harry. We are tired of looking at you.

commonman December 9, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Get off Harry’s back. He has risen far and beyond his expectations or qualifications. He has perfected sucking on the public teat through TERI and now as the number 2 guy running SCDOR without having to be held accountable for any mistakes he makes. He is a genius and is the epitome of a bureaucrat. Someone needs to look closer into the 2006-07 budget. Apparently, they had the money to encrypt our records then. And they chose to use it elsewhere. What a fiasco. It is truly a great day in South Carolina.

DOR Budget Man December 10, 2012 at 8:08 am

Could you be talking about the “Burnie Bucks”? If so, this agency had plenty of money to pay for encryption. Wonder what they used this for? More to come.

Could this fall on the previous Director and his “stooge” Deputy Cooper?

I agree with above posters, Bill Blume better look out! Cooper is career poison for others.


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