Oregon DHS reveals data breach of more than 350,000 clients' data

The agency said that the breach stemmed from a phishing scam that infected the emails of nine separate employees after they clicked a suspicious link.

Posted: Mar 21, 2019 2:44 PM
Updated: Mar 21, 2019 3:22 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon's Department of Human Services (DHS) revealed on Thursday that the private data of more than 350,000 clients may have been accessed in a massive data breach that began earlier this year.

The agency said that the breach stemmed from a phishing scam that infected the emails of nine separate employees after they clicked a suspicious link. The link "compromised their email mailboxes," and allowed the scammers to access the employees' emails.

"Unfortunately, Protected Health Information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was compromised and potentially exposed," DHS said.

Officials have not yet been able to confirm that the personal information of any specific clients was taken during the breach, but the potential size of the breach — more than 350,000 — means that the agency is required to notify the public under Oregon law.

According to DHS, scammers may have had access to the first and last names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, case numbers, and other information from thousands of clients.

"While there is no indication that any personal information was copied from its email system or used inappropriately, the department will be offering identity theft recovery services for impacted individuals," DHS said.

DHS discovered the breach on January 28, and believe that the phishing scam targeting DHS employees began on January 8.

The agency said that it has hired an outside company called IDExperts to look into the breach and find out exactly how many people may have been compromised — and what specific information may have been available on each client.

On Thursday afternoon, Oregon Republican lawmakers quickly released a statement panning DHS officials' handling of the breach.

“Transparency continues to be a systemic problem at DHS. Oregonians deserve better from government agencies and departments. Protection of personal information they are required to provide the state should be given the highest priority. Beyond that, we’re seeing a growing accountability issue when DHS fails to quickly inform the public about embarrassing matters,” said House Republican Leader Rep. Carl Wilson (R-Grants Pass).

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32820

Reported Deaths: 543
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah7184138
Marion468394
Washington451960
Umatilla297641
Clackamas240861
Malheur162723
Lane121017
Jackson11485
Deschutes84012
Yamhill75713
Jefferson5348
Polk53015
Linn52213
Morrow4996
Lincoln48213
Union4462
Benton3106
Wasco2923
Klamath2802
Hood River2510
Douglas2324
Clatsop2120
Josephine1982
Columbia1711
Coos1570
Baker942
Crook621
Tillamook530
Lake330
Curry310
Wallowa311
Sherman180
Harney120
Grant100
Gilliam80
Unassigned00
Wheeler00
Eugene
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 53°
Corvallis
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 49°
Roseburg
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 54°
North Bend
Clear
56° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 56°
KEZI Radar
KEZI Temperatures
KEZI Planner

LATEST FORECAST

Community Events