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Patients tested for COVID-19 may have had data compromised

The South Dakota Department of Public Safety is notifying people who may have had their personal information compromised after getting tested for COVID-19.
The South Dakota Department of Public Safety is notifying people who may have had their personal information compromised after getting tested for COVID-19.(MGN)
Published: Aug. 21, 2020 at 7:54 AM CDT
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PIERRE, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The South Dakota Department of Public Safety is notifying people who may have had their personal information compromised if they were tested for COVID-19.

According to a letter obtained by Dakota News Now, South Dakota’s Fusion Center was working with a web company called Netsential. The web development firm is used by fusion centers and law enforcement agencies nationwide. Law enforcement in South Dakota used Netsential’s services to create a portal that would allow them to check if individuals were positive for COVID-19 while they were out on calls.

In June, the Department of Public Safety was notified Netsential’s servers were hacked by a third party, which obtained names, birthdates, and addresses from individuals who were tested for COVID-19. The status of a person’s COVID-19 test was also compromised. The breach did not include any financial information, social security numbers or internet passwords.

The Department of Public Safety is sending letters to everyone who may have been affected in South Dakota. South Dakota is not the only state affected. The FBI is investigating the breach, therefore, Tony Mangan with the state’s Department of Public Safety said he cannot comment any further on the matter, and the letter speaks for itself.

Individuals who received the letter are being encouraged to look up tips on the Attorney General’s website to identify identity theft.

According to Netsential’s website, it confirms its web servers were recently compromised. In a statement on the homepage Netsential said it is “working with the appropriate law enforcement authorities regarding the breach, and we are fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation.”

Copyright 2020 Dakota News Now. All rights reserved.

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