1.8 Million Texans’ Personal Data Exposed

Data breach | Image by Shutterstock

A Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) audit showed nearly two million Texans had their personal information exposed for over three years.

TDI posted a public notice acknowledging that any of the 1.8 million worker’s compensation applicants between March 2019 and January 2022 may have had their address, phone number, social security number, and private health disclosures available to the public.

TDI authorities said they became aware of the unlawful disclosure on January 4, during a regular data management audit. The state auditor’s office said that TDI submitted a public notification on March 24, after the audit was completed, acknowledging that it had been aware of the matter since January.

According to TDI spokesperson Ben Gonzalez, the leak occurred due to an error in the programming code in the department’s online application, which is responsible for managing workers’ compensation data.

Gonzalez said the department temporarily isolated the online application from the internet before ultimately fixing the issue.

“We identified the issue was attributable to programming code that permitted internet access to a restricted region of the application,” Gonzalez said. “We were able to resolve the issue with the programming code, and we have now brought the TDI web application back up. We launched an inquiry to better understand the nature and breadth of the problem.”

A forensics business assisted TDI in determining whether the stolen personal information was misused.

According to Gonzalez, the investigation did not find any evidence of wrongdoing, and TDI has already informed those who were affected by the occurrence by mail. Anyone whose personal information was compromised will receive credit monitoring and reputation protection from TDI for one year.

The TDI website was updated with a public page detailing the flaw while the investigation was ongoing. Additionally, Gonzalez said, “TDI’s reactions to the data occurrence were unconnected to the State Auditor’s findings.”

The Texas Department of Insurance is a governmental department responsible for monitoring and enforcing state regulations for the insurance sector in Texas.

Employers who have workers’ compensation insurance coverage can file claims with the state’s Division of Workers’ Compensation, a division of TDI, if one of their employees becomes ill or injured while on the job.

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