Author Archives: myid

Malware blamed for city’s data breach

A malicious form of computer code known as “malware” has been blamed for the security breach that shut down Oceanside’s online payment system in August, city officials said this week.

The cyber attack targeted the names, billing addresses and credit card information, including the card number, expiration date and security code, of the 40,000 customers who use the online system to pay their water, sewer and trash bills, city officials said.

City officials shut down the online payment system after learning of the breach on Aug. 14, and it will not be used again.

“We are going to a new software in October,” Jane McPherson, the city’s financial services director, said Tuesday. “It will be a completely different system.”

Letters were mailed this week to explain details of the breach to all the city’s utility customers. Much of the information, including contact information and precautions to take, has been posted on the city’s website at


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Equifax Data Breach Impacts 143 Million Americans

Equifax is one of the largest credit reporting agencies in America, which makes an announcement the company just issued particularly disconcerting. An authorized third party gained access to Equifax data on as many as 143 million Americans. That’s nearly half the population of the United States as of the last census.

Equifax announced the incident this afternoon. According to the report, the breach was discovered on July 29th. Included among files accessed by hackers was a treasure trove of personal data: names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, addresses.

In some cases — Equifax states around 209,000 — the records also included actual credit card numbers. Documentation about disputed charges was also leaked. Those documents contained additional personal information on around 182,000 Americans.

So how did hackers gain access to the Equifax data? By exploiting a vulnerability on one of the company’s U.S.-based web servers. On the surface, at least, that seems to indicate that one of the three major U.S. credit bureaus was victimized by a relatively unsophisticated attack.


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After Equifax Hack, Consumers Are On Their Own. Here Are 6 Tips To Protect Your Data

When it comes to dealing with the aftermath of Equifax’s massive data breach, it’ll be up to consumers to be on guard against data thieves, experts say.

Last week, the credit-rating company disclosed that it was hacked earlier this year, leaving 143 million U.S. consumers’ personal information exposed. Equifax now faces numerous lawsuits, a huge stock price hit and several state and federal investigations.

Its slow and incomplete response continues to anger people all over the country, leaving many consumers wondering what — if anything — they can do to protect themselves if the company tasked with safeguarding their credit can’t even make its phone lines operate.

Lisa Gerstner has been tracking Equifax’s bungled response, both as a possible victim and as a writer for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

“The call lines have been flooded to them; I think their call centers are overwhelmed,” Gerstner says. “When I tried to call it last Friday about it, I got a busy signal then it hung up on me, so I went online.”

But there, too, as of Thursday, problems continued with Equifax’s website, with some users encountering system error messages. The company says that as of Tuesday, 11.5 million people had signed up to monitor their reports.


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