A "serious breach" of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission that occurred last week likely originated in China, the commission's administrator told The Des Moines Register newspaper.

According to a story published by the newspaper on Tuesday, Feb. 2, the personal information of about 80,000 people -- including names, Social Security numbers, home addresses and dates of birth -- was breached from a licensing database housed on a computer system operated by the commission, which regulates gambling at racetracks and on boats.

"The compromise took place January 26 when the state firewall functionality was circumvented due to network routing changes and a licensing database was breached," according to a statement posted on the commission's Web site. The commission said it was unaware of any instances of identity theft as a result of the breach.

A forensic analysis of the breach pinpoints China as the probable origin. The country has been suspected of increasingly using cyber-espionage to access sensitive information in the U.S. and elsewhere.