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Washington Fishing, Hunting License Sales Suspended After Cyber Breach
Sales of all hunting and fishing licenses in Washington state have been temporarily halted due to a cybersecurity breach.

Anglers can fish for free and without a license in Washington waters through next Tuesday. That announcement from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife on Thursday comes as the sale of all hunting and fishing licenses is temporarily suspended because of a cybersecurity breach. The Department said some personal information was accessed because of a vulnerability involving an outside vendor. Online license sales in Oregon and Idaho are also temporarily suspended. 

Fish and Wildlife said it doesn’t know how much personal information was compromised. But the department sells hundreds of thousands of hunting and fishing licenses a year through a vendor called Active Network.

Fish and Wildlife spokesman Bruce Botka said the decision to halt all license sales comes as an investigation into the data breach is just getting underway.

“We feel it’s the prudent thing to do until we can ensure we have a secure system,” he said.

Botka said he doesn’t know when license sales will resume. This is a peak month for sales with hunting season just around the corner and summer fishing and crab seasons ongoing.

Late Wednesday, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, which uses the same vendor, announced it's temporarily suspended the online sale of fishing and hunting licenses and tags as a result of the breach. Licenses are still available for purchase at Fish and Game offices and from businesses that sell them. 

Washington's "free fishing" days also applies to shellfish harvesting. However, seasons and catch limits will still be enforced. Anglers also won't be required to have a Discover Pass to park at Fish and Wildlife water-access sites through August 30th. 

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."