Akron city hall is putting it's legal staff on the front lines in the wake of last week's hacker attack of the City's website, which put at risk the personal information of thousands of citizens.
The attack attributed to a Turkish group posted anti-American comments before it was taken down; the city at first believed no sensitive information was accessed but upgraded the assessment after a security review indicated records of more than eight thousand individuals filing their city taxes online was involved. That number was later boosted to 30,000.
The City of Akron has been advising those impacted by phone call, email or regular postal mail. Account holders were also encouraged to call the City's 3-1-1 help line to find out of their records were among those accessed in the computer attack.
Lawyers from the city will be at community centers today to answer questions from the public, and offer advice on making their financial information more secure and protect their credit ratings. The City also has a blanket police report, posted HERE on AkronNewsNow.com, that account holders can use with credit reporting agencies to help avoid extra fees and charges.
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(City of Akron) Today and tomorrow (Tuesday and Wednesday), City of Akron attorneys will be at different Akron community centers to talk to residents about what they can do if they are on the list of people whose information was compromised by the cyber-attack that occurred last week. These attorneys will be able to look up whether citizens are on the list of people whose information was stolen, and they will be able to explain what a person should do to secure their accounts and credit.
The following community centers will have help available from 10 am to 3 pm:
Lawton Street Community Center, 1225 Lawton Street
Patterson Park Community Center, 800 Patterson Avenue
Firestone Park Community Center, 1480 Girard Street
Kenmore Community Center, 880 Kenmore Boulevard
Ellet Community Center, 2449 Wedgewood Drive
Reservoir Park Community Center, 1735 Hillside Terrace
Also, the City is bringing in extra help to answer the deluge of 311 calls the City has encountered. The City had already added extra man-power and extended its hours at the 311 call center throughout the weekend, but more help is being utilized today.
“We are treating this cyber-attack as we would any other attack on the City and its residents,” said Mayor Don Plusquellic. “Although we already had extra people manning the 311 phone lines, we are significantly expanding our staffing in the hopes that everyone can get through easily. We are also providing help at our community centers for those people who want to sit down and talk with someone. At this point, we are doing everything we to keep our citizens informed, and we are trying to help them prevent misuse of their sensitive information.”
To recap, a cyber-attack was launched last week against networks across the country, including the City of Akron. The attackers infiltrated the City of Akron’s computer network in spite of all of the efforts by the City to meet top national standards of intrusion protection systems, firewalls, and virus protection software. The City is continuing to work closely with the FBI to determine how the City’s site was accessed and to determine the full extent of the information hacked.
The City of Akron filed a police incident report, Report Number 13-011564, which is available at www.akronohio.gov. Citizens can access this report for use with banking institutions, credit agencies, and to keep on file.
Also the stolen information has been removed from the public website as of Saturday, May 18, 2013. The City and the FBI continues to monitor and investigate whether the information is elsewhere.
The City has already contacted some individuals by email (those who had valid emails on file) and other individuals by Reverse Alert phone calls (those who had valid phone numbers on file). All affected individuals will receive a letter by mail informing them that their information was compromised.
To find out whether your information was compromised, you should call 3-1-1 (330-375-2311 from a mobile phone), call the City’s income tax office at 330-375-2290, or visit one of the community centers listed above between 10 am and 3 pm to talk to an attorney.
If you are on the list of individuals whose information was released, the FBI recommends that at this point, you monitor all your financial accounts very carefully until we have more information.
In the meantime, here are some resources to help you protect your credit:
The Ohio Attorney General’s Consumer Identity Theft Unit can assist consumers after they’ve been ID theft victims by helping them straighten out accounts. Also, the office can provide a self-help assistance guide. A police report must be filed. Call 800-282-0515 or go online to www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov.
Your Homeowner’s Insurance may include ID theft coverage. If not, you may be able to add that coverage
You can also contact one of the Credit Report services and put a freeze on your credit.