Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Around The Nation

LA LGBT Center information systems compromised by cyber-thieves
LA LGBTQ Center * File Photo
LOS ANGELES -- The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center was recently the victim of a sophisticated cyber-attack that, according to data security and technology experts, was designed to collect credit card, Social Security numbers and other financial information, although there is no evidence that anyone’s information was actually accessed or acquired.
An employee on the Center’s information technology team became suspicious that sophisticated malware may have evaded the Center’s security measures, the organization retained the services of data security and technology consultants. Those experts determined that this type of attack is designed to acquire Social Security numbers, credit card information and other financial data and confirmed on November 22, 2013 that the security of certain client data may have been compromised.
The Center began notifying potentially affected individuals last Monday and then the day after the Center began notifications to its clients, the security firms told Center officials they had confirmed that additional client data may have been compromised.
“The Center takes the privacy of our clients very seriously,” said Center CEO Lorri L. Jean.  “After learning of this attack, we took immediate steps to further safeguard the information currently on our servers and, though no organization can ever be assured that its data is 100 percent protected, we are working with data security and technology experts to guard against future attacks.”
Jean noted that the Center's staff is working with law enforcement officials to identify those responsible for this criminal act at the same time it is notifying approximately 59,000 clients and former clients, in English and Spanish, that information related to them may have been compromised between September 17, 2013 and November 8, 2013.  The information potentially exposed may have included name, contact information, credit card information, medical or health care information, Social Security number, date of birth, and health insurance account number.
Those who have questions are invited to call the Center at 323-993-8922 and ask for Jocelyn.
For all those who are potentially impacted, the Center has engaged Experian, one of the leading providers of credit monitoring, to provide one free year of its ProtectMyID Alert product.

Gay man possible hate crime victim say police
Mik Holland
OREGON CITY -- A Gay Southwest Portland man is the victim of possible hate crime according to a spokesman for the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.
Mik Holland a computer software engineer and an out of town visitor were utilising the bathing facilities at the Bagby Hot Springs located in the Mount Hood National Forest where Holand was attacked.
Lt. Robert Wurpes, Clackamas County Sheriff's Office spokesman, said Holland along with his friend had met two strangers Dec. 2 while soaking at one of the bathhouses.
Wurpes told Portland's LGBTQ magazine PQ Monthly that after the discussion turned to sexual orientation, the strangers – both described as having Eastern European accents, possibly Russian -- attacked Holland and his friend. Wurpes said Holland was beaten on the head with a heavy-duty industrial flashlight. The two strangers then took off.
Wurpes said that the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office is investigating the assault and a possible hate crime.
“Talking about it in plain speech, this was a hate crime,” said Wurpes of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. “However, while  do have a hate crime [classification] — Intimidation — the officer wrote it up [in the police report] as assault in the second degree. Assault in the second degree carries heavier fines and penalties than intimidation in the first degree, which may have been why the officer listed those charges.” 
Wurpes notes that, if they are able to find the suspects, the District Attorney will be able to tack on more charges, possibly including intimidation.
According to the Sheriff's reports, Holland, who was badly beaten in the attack, and his friend made their way down the trail from the hot springs,where after calling 911, the men were picked up by an ambulance and taken to OHSU Hospital, where they were treated for their injuries and released. The Sheriff's spokesman also said that deputies have recovered the flashlight.
"We're processing it for fingerprints and DNA," Wurpes said. "It's a long shot, but we're trying."
The first alleged attacker was described by Lieutenant Wurpes as a male of possible Eastern European descent, 67 inches in height, 180 lbs, with blue eyes and short blonde hair. At the time of the attack, the alleged perpetrator was wearing blue jeans, a green vest, and a grey sweatshirt. Holland notes that this alleged perpetrator identified himself as Alex, noted in conversation that he was of Siberian descent, had no facial hair, weighed about 155 lbs, and “looked Estonian.”
The second attacker was described by Lieutenant Wurpes as a male of possible Eastern European descent, 72 inches in height, 200 lbs, with short brown hair and a Russian accent. Holland notes that this alleged attacker identified himself with a name beginning with J (possibly James), stated that he was 22 years of age, was about 180 lbs “with a slight gut,” and had a bit of grey in his hair.
Wurpes said deputies also were looking for a blue or charcoal-gray Dodge 2007-10 pickup with Washington license plates.