OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Keeping Oklahoma veterans safe from hackers was a hot topic Wednesday at the Oklahoma Department of Veteran Affairs. Board members learned that the personal information of 18,000 veterans may be at risk.
“This should scare the holy heck out of you,” said board member Brett Martin.
Members of the ODVA got a briefing they didn’t expect.
“There’s been some sort of breach or compromise that hasn’t been totally exploited,” said Rob Allen, the chairman of the ODVA.
The bombshell came from the state Office of Management and Enterprise Services.
The State Chief Information Officer, Jerry Moore, said the social security numbers of 18,000 veterans had been exposed.
To whom? It’s not yet clear.
Moore said it happened when veterans routinely logged on to a veterans’ program online, entering their personal information.
The board learned that portal was outside the state’s protective firewall and was infiltrated.
Adding to the confusion, the website was paid for with the credit card of an unnamed ODVA employee.
“Who is paying for this false front website that’s collecting veteran personal information?” asked Allen. “Who is that and why?”
So far, investigators said no one’s information is being criminally used.
“They’re able to access it, but it hasn’t been downloaded and it doesn’t look like it’s been made available in the in the dark web,” said Allen.
Today’s revelation was complicated by internal politics. The executive director of Veterans Affairs, Joel Kintsel, didn’t attend the meeting. He is boycotting board appointments made by Governor Kevin Stitt, that Attorney General Gentner Drummond said were not lawful.
An investigation into this problem website is now underway.
A lot is at stake, including the accrediation of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs.
We reached out to Director Kinstel, but we did not hear back.