HASTINGS, Minn., April 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Dakota County has become aware of a data security incident that involved protected health information maintained by the Dakota County Social Services Department. Dakota County has sent notification letters to the potentially impacted individuals to notify them of this incident and to provide resources to assist them.
On February 13, 2019, Dakota County learned that an email account belonging to one of its employees was accessed without authorization. Upon learning of this incident, Dakota County took steps to further secure its email system and network, including resetting the passwords on all employee email accounts and setting up an additional layer of authentication for remote access to the Dakota County network. Dakota County also launched an investigation and engaged independent cybersecurity experts to provide assistance. On March 27, 2019, as a result of this investigation, Dakota County learned that some of those messages within the impacted email account contained private information belonging to approximately 1,000 current and former clients of Dakota County. The private information may have included names, addresses, driver's license numbers, Social Security numbers, health insurance information, and/or medical history, treatment, or diagnoses information.
Dakota County is not aware that any of the private information involved in this incident has been misused. Dakota County takes the security of all information very seriously and is implementing additional security measures to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.
Notification letters were sent to all potentially impacted individuals on April 12, 2019. The letters include information about this incident and about steps that potentially impacted individuals can take to monitor and help protect their private information. Dakota County has established a toll-free call center to answer questions about the incident and to address related concerns. The call center is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Central Time and can be reached at 1-800-939-4170. In addition, as a precaution, Dakota County is offering complimentary identity protection services through ID Experts to potentially impacted individuals. Dakota County also notified the U.S. Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights and consumer reporting agencies of this incident.
The privacy and protection of private information is a top priority for Dakota County. Dakota County deeply regrets any inconvenience or concern this incident may cause.
SOURCE Dakota County