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Washington Licensing System Hacked, Information Likely to be On the Dark Web

By Dr.Dang March 22, 2022, 7:15 p.m.
Washington Licensing System Hacked, Information Likely to be On the Dark Web

The Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) temporarily interrupted one of its online business services. This is to allow them to investigate a suspected data breach. The department handles granting driver's licenses and other documents.

Washington Licensing System Hacked

So, last week, it announced that it might have become the victim of a breach.
The breach occurred on the 24th of last month, according to the DOL. At that moment, the department became aware of the questionable activity. It involved professional and occupational license data.

Following that, it has taken precautions. For instance, the department temporarily suspended its POLARIS platform. POLARIS in full is Professional Online Licensing and Regulatory Information System.The suspension was "to protect the personal information of professional licensees".

What Does Licensing Data Entail?

The POLARIS system stores a lot of data. This includes information about its professional and business license holders and applicants. For example;

Dates of birth
Social Security numbers
Driver license numbers
Other personally identifiable information

The agency noted that there wasn't any indication of other affected data. As a result, driver and vehicle licensing information were safe. Moreover, all other department systems are operating normally.
"We are working with the Washington Office of Cybersecurity to protect the licensing data and bring POLARIS back online as soon as possible. With the support and assistance of nationally recognized cybersecurity experts, we are investigating what happened and what data and people may be affected," stated the agency.
In addition, the DOL added that it would notify victims once the investigation ends. Especially if it reveals that their personal information got accessed. Further, the DOL released a detailed advisory. It encouraged users of the service to remain vigilant. Also, they should report any abnormal activity to the department.
However, it does not give any details about when the service will be back. Yet, it desires to have POLARIS back online "as soon as possible." The department is working with the Washington State Office of Cybersecurity. The reason is to understand the extent of the incident fully. Following that, it will take all necessary actions.

Is the Breached Data in the Dark Web?

Businesses close deals in real-time and share crucial information easily. But this progress comes with the risk of many hidden threats. One such threat is hackers and the darknet like what happened with DOL.
Hackers usually hunt for private business data. After getting it, they can sell to the dark web's highest bidder. Data can harm your business' finances if they are in the wrong hands. Such data includes Social Security Numbers and account logins. Besides the financial implications, your company's reputation may also get tarnished.
Activists and journalists rely on the darknet's anonymity for identity protection. Together with the Tor Browser, the dark web provides complete protection. However, hackers take advantage of these features to endanger businesses.
The tech team needs to worry about the darknet's risk on crucial company information. Hackers usually look for loopholes on every end to gain access to vital information. And this is exactly what happened at DOL. Still, whether their data is in the dark markets isn't clear. There, it can get sold for some dollars in the form of cryptocurrency.

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