The Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) is notifying its members and certain beneficiaries whose information is in its database of a security flaw in the agency’s online member portal that allowed some ERS members to see the personal information of others earlier this year. The information was accessible only to a subset of ERS members with an ERS online account who logged in with a user ID and password, and was not available to the public. The data had names, Social Security numbers and ERS member identification numbers. The specific function that allowed the information to be seen was caused by a coding error. The error allowed access from January 1, 2018 to August 17, 2018. The function was disabled immediately after ERS learned of the security issue on August 17, 2018.
ERS thoroughly reviewed the agency’s online portal as well as this specific function, and believes that member information and the online portal are secure. ERS has taken, and will continue to take, additional steps to prevent this from happening in the future. These measures include new controls and additional quality assurance to enhance web portal security and monitoring.
After the thorough investigation by ERS and outside experts, ERS has found no reason to believe that anyone’s information was used for fraudulent purposes. Since ERS cannot be certain of this, it has provided identity restoration services for any members or beneficiaries who may have been impacted by this incident. The notification also offers additional credit monitoring services at no cost to the recipients. ERS also has recommended that its members continue to follow usual good practices to protect their identity, including regularly reviewing account statements, periodically obtaining copies of credit reports from one or more of the national credit reporting agencies, and reporting any suspicious activity to law enforcement.
Additional information is located on the agency’s website at www.ers.texas.gov. ERS members and others who might be impacted may also call (877) 736-2221 for assistance.
ERS manages benefits for the employees and retirees of State of Texas agencies and some higher education institutions in the state.
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