Hackers steal Alabamians' personal information

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - State officials are working to make sure your personal information is safe.

You could be one of thousands of people in Alabama whose social security number or other personal information is now in the hands of hackers.

Members from the well-known hacker group "Anonymous" claim they accessed thousands of Alabamians personal records as a way to get a message across to lawmakers--they disagree with the state's new immigration law.

The news comes as a shock to some residents who feel what the hackers did is unfair.

"I don't think people should be able to do that without being penalized," says Janene Thomas.

When she heard her personal information may have been stolen?

"I mean I didn't like it. I thought it was wrong."

She could be one of nearly 50,000 Alabamians left wondering what's happening with those records--now that sensitive information may be vulnerable.

While members of the group "Anonymous" claim they won't use the information to hurt anyone, it still causes folks like Janene to be diligent about protecting her records.

"They can ruin my credit with just the click of a button."

So what can you do if your information is compromised?

The Alabama attorney general's office lists several tips for protecting yourself against identity theft.

-Monitor your credit report regularly

-Pick up your mail everyday

-Always question why someone needs your social security number if they ask for it

-Limit information printed on your personal checks

-Be cautious about sharing personal information with anyone over the Internet

"I wasn't worried because it's something I can't control," says Ed Bowman, who isn't surprised to hear about the hackers.

To him, even taking precautions won't guarantee your information is safe.

"You're not going to stop it. If somebody wants to do something they're going to do it," he says.

Janene doesn't think they should get away with it.

"Fines, maybe jail time."

State information technology workers are conducting forensic analysis to see what, if any, information was compromised.  So far, the City of Mobile is the only municipality reporting being hacked.

A spokeswoman there says only public information was obtained and that they are currently putting more security measures in place to keep it from happening again.

CIA officials say they're also looking into a website breach they believe happened at the hands of the "Anonymous" group.

Copyright 2012 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.