Suspected Data Breach May Have Affected 15,000 County Workers

The possible incident — a third-party vendor is still looking into whether cyberthieves gained access to any protected information — may have hit the health benefits program the county runs on behalf of its employees, according to a county government spokeswoman.

By John Cox, The Bakersfield Californian

A suspected data breach may have compromised the personal information of as many as 15,298 current and former Kern County government employees and their dependents, a government spokeswoman said Tuesday.

The possible breach — a third-party vendor is still looking into whether cyberthieves gained access to any protected information — may have hit the health benefits program the county runs on behalf of its employees, according to an email from county spokeswoman Megan Person.

Potential victims include retired and active county staff, their dependents and medical staff at Kern Medical Center, Person said.

She said in an email that the suspected breach appears to have occurred on systems run by outside vendors, and that no problem seems to have taken place on the county’s side.

Further information, such as a finding on whether information was actually compromised, should be available within days, Person noted.

“Again, this is a POSSIBLE security incident and the investigation (is) underway,” she wrote. “We do not know what, if any, data was compromised. We were notified yesterday (Monday), communicated with our employees this morning, and we anticipate more information coming in the next week.”

If data was compromised, she stated, all affected employees will be notified and given access to credit-monitoring services.

“The security of our plan participants and their information is our primary concern, and we remain vigilant in monitoring the situation,” she wrote. “We want to assure our employees and our constituents this did NOT affect our county networks and systems. It’s a reminder that all of us should be cautious and take extra measures when it comes to our online security.”

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