State licensing website restored following data breach, months-long investigation

The Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) has reopened its online licensing system following a months-long investigation.

Officials restored service to the online portal on Tuesday, allowing people to renew their professional licenses and apply for new ones.

The DOL shut down the service on Jan. 24, after officials detected a massive data breach. Investigators said hackers stole at least some Social Security numbers and other sensitive personal data of 650,000 current and former Washington state professionals and business owners.

Other information included driver’s license numbers and dates of birth.

The site being down posed major problems for small business owners trying to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. FOX 13 News spoke with an aggrieved real estate agent who was stuck waiting for the state to process licenses again, with no timeline for when she could get her career moving again.

For professionals whose licenses expired during that outage, the DOL is waiving all late filing penalties through Apr. 1.

The DOL says they conducted a thorough investigation of their database, and have not detected any further breaches. Officials note the ‘Pay by Employer’ option, used by some professions like security guards, is not functional yet.

Anyone who may have their information compromised has received a letter from DOL, outlining instructions on how to get free credit monitoring. The deadline to enroll for this is May 24.

For more information, visit the Department of Licensing website.

RELATED: State licensing, renewal website down causing delays for business owners

READ MORE: Data breach: Thieves got access to 650,000 individuals’ info on Washington database

Get breaking news alerts in the FREE FOX 13 Seattle app. Download for Apple iOS or Android. And sign up for BREAKING NEWS emails delivered straight to your inbox.

Stay connected with FOX 13 News on all platforms:
DOWNLOAD: FOX 13 News and Weather Apps
WATCH: FOX 13 News Live
SUBSCRIBE: FOX 13 on YouTube
DAILY BRIEF: Sign Up For Our Newsletter
FOLLOW: Facebook Twitter Instagram