Hackers who broke into the state’s Web site claim to have stolen as many as 53,000 credit card numbers.
Thomas Viall, the site’s manager, confirmed the break-in Thursday but said far fewer credit card numbers were stolen. He works for New England Interactive, a private company that runs the state’s Web site.
The theft occurred Dec. 28. The hackers posted an account on a Russian Web site two weeks ago. State officials learned of it Thursday after reports began circulating by e-mail.
The hackers said they used Google to search the Web for bits of computer code that indicate a site is vulnerable to a break-in. They narrowed their search to government sites, eventually focusing on RI.gov.
The hackers got names, addresses and encrypted credit card information, Viall told the Providence Journal on Thursday. He disputed the hackers’ claim that they were able to crack the encryption.
The state’s Web site accepts credit cards for nearly a dozen transactions. Viall said several services may have been affected by the break-in but he did not specify which ones. That makes it hard to say which users of the site may have had information stolen.
The hackers posted the names of 38 people and partial credit card numbers on the Russian Web site. Several of those people used their credit cards to register their cars.