Nigerian National Charged with Hacking of Los Angeles County Emails

A Nigerian citizen is facing multiple charges in connection with a hack of Los Angeles County emails that could have potentially exposed personal data from over 750,000 people engaged in correspondence with county departments.

Authorities have charged 37-year-old Kelvin Onaghinor who faces nine counts including charges of unauthorized computer access and identity theft, the office of the Los Angeles County chief executive revealed.

The whereabouts of the alleged hacker is still unknown, according to the Daily News. Meanwhile, authorities are searching for more suspects related to the hack, which saw a phishing email trick a total of 108 county employees into providing usernames and passwords.

Following the comprehensive breach, a forensic investigation discovered that a total of 756,000 individuals could have been affected, due to their contacts with several county departments.

While there is no evidence that any confidential information was revealed as a result of the breach, officials have begun notifying individuals that their personal information could be at risk. The information that may have been compromised includes first and last names, social security numbers, dates of birth, driver’s license or state ID numbers, bank account details, phone numbers, home addresses, payment card information. Even medical information, such as Medi-Cal or insurance carrier ID numbers are at risk, as well as treatment histories, diagnosis records and medical record numbers.

“These kinds of phishing attacks are on the rise throughout society — and the county has not been immune from that trend,” Joel Sappell, acting director of countywide communications at the Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office, said in a statement. “But we’re always striving to strengthen our security measures and keep our employees educated and trained on how to guard against the growing numbers of cyber intrusions.”

Following the sweeping breach, the county is offering free identity monitoring for those who may have been exposed. Other services on offer include credit monitoring, identity consultation and identity restoration.

The county has also pinned a website with more information for affected individuals.

If convicted, Onaghinor faces 13 years in state prison.

Image credit: Pexels.