TACOMA - State and federal law enforcement agencies are investigating a sophisticated cyberattack targeting a California-based software company that provides services to the Washington State Auditor’s Office (SAO).
The company is Accellion, and the auditor’s office has been using its program for 13 years to transfer files.
"We paid for, we expected and we deserve to have a secure system," said Pat McCarthy, Washington State Auditor. "We believed that Accellion was providing a secure file transfer product for the State of Washington.
The breach is massive, and impacts the personal information of more than 1.5 million people in the state who filed for unemployment benefits in 2020.
This could include names, social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, bank information and places of work.
"It’s completely understandable that the public’s confidence may have been shaken," said Kathleen Cooper, Director of Communications for SAO. "I would really want to be clear the ESD had nothing to do with this. This was an incident that happened with a third-party vendor at the auditor’s office."
Heather Wippert of Tacoma is just one of the many who are now uncertain about the security of their information. She filed for unemployment for 26 weeks beginning in April after she was let go from her job.
"Panicked and worried. I don’t know if I need to get ID monitoring," said Heather Wippert, who works as a teacher. "When will we find out, and how? What are they going to do to fix it?"
The SAO has created a page dedicated to serving the individuals who believe their information was exposed in this breach. It said SAO will makes resources available to help each affected person take measures to protect their identity and post about it soon.