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State Of Utah Fires Tech Director Over Breach

Utah IT director 'lacked oversight and leadership' in incident that exposed personal details of 780,000, governor says

The director of the state of Utah's Department of Technology Services was fired last week following a breach of health department servers that exposed the personal data of some 780,000 residents in March.

A contractor that provided software to the state was also terminated. In addition, two other IT employees are under review and could be reprimanded or fired, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert told reporters in a press conference.

According to a report by The Salt Lake Tribune, Gov. Herbert stated that Department of Technology Services director Stephen Fletcher lacked "oversight and leadership" during the incident, in which Romanian hackers are suspected of stealing Social Security data and other information from health department servers.

The breach was related to the failure to change a default password, Gov. Herbert said. The contractor provided software without proper encryption safeguards, and the state's health data in future will be encrypted at rest as well as in transit, he said.

Herbert also announced the creation of a new "health data security ombudsman" in the Department of Health and appointed Sheila Walsh-McDonald, a longtime advocate for low-income Utahns at the Salt Lake Community Action Program, according to the news report. Walsh-McDonald will help victims navigate the programs available to them to protect their information.

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Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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Tina Stewart
Tina Stewart,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/24/2012 | 5:56:32 PM
re: State Of Utah Fires Tech Director Over Breach
Tim, in addition to regulatory fines, notification costs, and brand erosion we can add a new repercussion to data breaches G loss of job security. As you reported, at least two people have been fired so far as a result of this breach, while two other jobs are in jeopardy. Government and private sector organizations are now treating sensitive data as a form of currency, and making those responsible for protecting it accountable for negligence. This is a positive development, as along as IT organizations are given the budget to implement the requisite security measures, such as access control and encryption.
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