October 10, 2016
Dear Washington fishing, hunting, and recreational license buyers,
In August a hacker gained unauthorized access to personal information provided by you when you bought Washington state fishing, hunting, or other recreational licenses. The information accessed was from Washington license buyers who purchased a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) license before July 2006, including names; addresses; dates of birth; driver's license numbers and related personal details such as height, weight, hair and eye color; and the last four digits of Social Security numbers. The database did not contain credit card information.
We sincerely regret this incident, and we are doing everything possible to make sure the data in the license system is secure. As active outdoorsmen and women, many WDFW staff are also directly affected by this security incident. The possible misuse of your identity information is deeply frustrating and unsettling, and we apologize that your data was unlawfully accessed.
WDFW is working closely with ACTIVE Outdoors, the licensing contractor that operates the licensing system, and state and federal cyber security officials, to ensure the security of the system. If you purchased WDFW licenses prior to 2006 and your profile contained a driver's license number, you should have received a letter from ACTIVE Outdoors notifying you of the situation and offering to provide assistance if you suffer any kind of identity theft. The letter provides information about how a customer may obtain identity theft repair services from AllClear ID if he or she discovers any identity theft problems over the next two years.
While we have not received reports of fraud related to the exposed customer information, we strongly encourage customers to monitor their personal and financial information. In today's digital age, cyber-attacks are unfortunately becoming all too frequent and are affecting millions of customers. I share your frustration about this incident and this trend.
When we learned that personal information had been accessed, we suspended license sales for several days to secure the system. We offered multiple free fishing days to reduce the impact on customers that wanted to go fishing, but weren't able to purchase a license while our system was down. We have restored license sales by telephone and through our network of about 600 retail vendors, and will only resume internet sales when we are confident that our customers' information is protected. We are also incorporating additional prompts to verify the identities of customers who are legitimately accessing their profiles.
Please review our website for additional information and updates: http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/wild_system/
Thank you for your patience as we work to fully restore the licensing system. I am sorry that this incident occurred and apologize for the inconvenience it has caused.
James Unsworth, Ph.D.