Erie County, Pa., Office of Children and Youth Experiences Data Breach

The data breach was discovered after a Pennsylvania-based child welfare worker found a link on the internet to a client file, which should not have been viewable online.

by Kevin Flowers, Erie Times-News, Pa. / July 5, 2017
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(TNS) -- Officials with the Erie County Office of Children and Youth said that fewer than 30 Erie County children had their identities compromised as part of a recent data security breach involving a third-party vendor that affected approximately 1,800 child welfare cases statewide.

The data breach was discovered in May and involved what is known as Child Accounting and Profile System databases maintained by Avanco International, a Fairfax, Virginia-based company that specializes in software integration, contracting and consulting for federal, state and local governments.

The information has since been removed from the Internet.

WJAC-TV in Johnstown reported the data breach was discovered after a Pennsylvania-based child welfare worker found a link on the internet to a client file, which should not have been viewable online.

Erie County and several other counties statewide use that system, county OCY Director Lana Rees said.

"It's a system we input our (case) files into," Rees said, adding that names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers would be included in the database. "The problem has been corrected."

Rees said she did not know how long the information was viewable online

Letters were sent to affected individuals or their families on June 30, she said, and the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania worked with county government solicitors across the state on a probe into what caused the data breach.

CCAP is a statewide association that represents county commissioners, chief clerks, administrators and solicitors. It also represents county council members and executives in home-rule charter counties such as Erie County.

The organization, according to Erie County officials, also consulted with lawyers expert in cyber law and a digital forensics company regarding the data breach, and put protective measures in place. There is no indication that the information was inappropriately used, officials said.

"We understand our obligation to ensure sensitive information about the people we serve is kept secure, and we take this incident very seriously," Rees said. "We are confident the measures put in place will provide the necessary privacy and security our clients expect so we can work together to ensure our children are given the care and protection they deserve."

©2017 the Erie Times-News (Erie, Pa.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.