CyberNews Briefs

Washington Warns of POLARIS Breach

The Washington State Department of Licensing has temporarily closed down its Professional Online Licensing and Regulatory Information System (POLARIS) after detecting suspicious activity on its networks. POLARIS stores sensitive information about license holders and applicants, ranging from cosmetology license holders, drivers and vehicle license, real estate brokers, bail bondsmen, and more. The information varies between the different licenses and may include Social Security numbers, dates of birth, driver license numbers, and other sensitive or personally identifying information. The DoL posted to its website to confirm the suspicious activity. The decision to shut the website down was reportedly taken as a precaution as cybersecurity teams investigate the incident.

The department stated that the Washington Office of Cybersecurity will assist the organization in the safe recovery of its systems, as well as to determine whether a data breach impacting its license holders occurred. At the time, there is not evidence that any data stored by the DoL was affected. The department has created an Intent to Renew form for professionals and citizens who have tried to renew licenses while the site remains down. In addition, a call center was erected to answer questions posed by individuals impacted by the outage.

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