Austin/ Weather & Environment
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Published on February 16, 2024
Central Texas on Alert as Williamson County Confirms Data Breach Exposing Residents' Sensitive InfoSource: Facebook / Williamson County, Texas - Government

Residents of Central Texas are on high alert after a breach of data in Williamson County made headlines, exposing sensitive personal information. According to KXAN, the county officials announced a "data security event" that affected the 277th District Court in November of last year.

Officials learned about "suspicious activity in its email environment" on November 10, 2022, sparking an investigation revealing that an unauthorized actor had penetrated the county’s cybersecurity, according to a statement obtained by KXAN. Sensitive data potentially accessed during the breach could include names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, driver’s license or state ID information, financial account and credit card info, and even medical records.

The county is taking steps to mitigate the situation, sending out notification letters to those potentially impacted and setting up a toll-free line (1-833-918-1104) for concerned citizens to obtain more information. The service operates from Monday to Friday, excluding holidays, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Cybersecurity expert, Mitchem Boles, warned about the increase of such attacks on governmental entities in an interview with KVUE. According to Boles, these entities are often targeted "because of older infrastructure, they're underfunded, they don't necessarily have the protections in place for their data." He continued to highlight that many attackers are motivated by financial gain, with as much as "97% of those malicious actors" aiming for the money.

For residents concerned about their personal information’s security, experts recommend placing a credit freeze. This measure can prevent the creation of new credit accounts under one's name and can be done through any major credit reporting agency - Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion. KVUE reports that such requests can be completed online, by phone, or through mail correspondence.

Austin-Weather & Environment