The attacker gained administrative control of a "non-critical backup server" on the computer system, known as KidCare, for about 40 minutes and inserted a virus, which immediately was removed, Ross said in a statement. At this point, it does not appear the hacker’s motive was to steal sensitive data.
"While the initial technical information at this point does not confirm or deny that personal identity information was acquired by the hackers, the possibility exists, and the first priority of the investigation is to determine whether such information was acquired," Ross said.
Personal information sitting on the server included the names, addresses, Social Security, federal tax identification numbers and bank account data of about 300,000 individuals and 9,000 businesses, the statement said.
"I encourage all parents who pay or receive, and all employers involved, to monitor their accounts and report unusual activity," Ross said.
Letters notifying affected parties about the breach and offering them ways to protect themselves from identity theft are scheduled to be sent immediately, the statement said.
The state treasurer’s office is responsible for the collection and distribution of child support payments. The payment center has disbursed more than $1 billion since opening in December 2001.
After the breach was discovered, the affected hard drive and server were replaced, Ross said. The State Patrol has launched a forensics investigation.