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Equifax, software maker blame each other for opening door to hackers

Equifax and a software company are blaming each other for a glitch that allowed hackers to obtain Social Security numbers and other sensitive information for 143 million people.

>> Read more trending news

The Atlanta-based company, one of the nation’s three key credit bureaus that track individuals’ credit histories, said late Wednesday that hackers breached a vulnerable spot in a U.S. website application called Apache Struts CVE-2017-5638. Equifax disclosed last week that it discovered in July that hackers had tapped a large trove of personal data on most adults in America.

>> Related: Federal probe launched after Equifax data breach

But in a statement Thursday, Apache Software Foundation, which provides the application, said it provided and announced a patch for the software fault on March 7, well before Equifax said the security breach began in mid-May.

“In conclusion, the Equifax data compromise was due to their failure to install the security updates provided in a timely manner,” the foundation said.

>> Related: Equifax cyberattack: What to know

The 18-year-old foundation said it is an all-volunteer organization that produced open-source Java applications for government and business users, including Fortune 100 companies.

Equifax couldn’t be reached immediately for a response to Apache Software Foundation’s statement.

Looking for a job? Here are the top 25 US cities to get hired

A new survey by job site Glassdoor named the country’s top 25 cities to find a job.

>> Read more trending news 

Glassdoor.com, a job site that analyzes data on job openings, quality of life and home values, rated Pittsburgh the No. 1 city for jobs in 2017.

Each city was ranked based on three factors: cost of living, job satisfaction and hiring opportunity. 

According to the report, Pittsburgh has more than 95,000 job openings, with civil engineer, registered nurse and project manager listed as “hot jobs.” The city has a $44,000 median base salary, and the median home value is $137,400.

The report, based on a comparison of the 50 most populated U.S. metropolitan cities, rated cities on a five-point scale to earn a “city score.” Pittsburgh earned 4.4 points, as did Indianapolis, Indiana; Kansas City, Missouri; Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; St. Louis, Missouri; and Memphis, Tennessee.

Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles did not make the list.

Here is the full list of the best US cities to get a job, according to Glassdoor:

1. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania2. Indianapolis, Indiana3. Kansas City, Missouri4. Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina5. St. Louis, Missouri6. Memphis, Tennessee7. Columbus, Ohio8. Cincinnati, Ohio9. Cleveland, Ohio10. Louisville, Kentucky11. Birmingham, Alabama12. Detroit, Michigan13. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota14. Hartford, Connecticut15. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma16. Washington D.C.

17. Seattle, Washington

18. Atlanta, Georgia19. Baltimore, Maryland20. Nashville, Tennessee21. Milwaukee, Wisconsin22. San Jose, California23. Chicago, Ilinois24. Charlotte, North Carolina25. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

Amelia Finefrock contributed to this report.

Federal probe launched after Equifax data breach

The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday confirmed that it is investigating a massive data breach at credit reporting giant Equifax that exposed the sensitive information of millions of Americans.

>> Read more trending news

Peter Kaplan, FTC’s acting director of public affairs, said that the agency typically does not comment on ongoing investigations in a statement obtained by Politico.

“However, in light of the intense public interest and the potential impact of this matter, I can confirm that FTC staff is investigating the Equifax data breach,” Kaplan said.

Equifax, one of America’s three major credit bureaus, said last week that a “cyber security incident” might have exposed the names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses of 143 million Americans. Driver’s license numbers might have also been accessed, the company said.

The breach took place from mid-May through July 2017, according to Equifax.

>> Related: Equifax reports massive data breach that could affect 143 million in U.S. 

Equifax set up a website to help affected consumers and keep them abreast of updates in the company’s investigation. On a frequently asked questions section of the site, Equifax officials identified the flaw that allowed hackers to access sensitive information as one flagged publicly last year.

A patch for the vulnerability, Apache Struts CVE-2017-5638, was released by The Apache Software Foundation in March, Bloomberg reported.

>> Related: Equifax cyberattack: What to know

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, a member of the Banking, Budget and Finance committees and cofounder of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus, on Wednesday called for an investigation into the data breach. 

“The volume and sensitivity of the data potentially involved in this breach raises serious questions about whether firms like Equifax adequately protect the enormous amounts of sensitive data they gather and commercialize,” Warner wrote in a letter addressed to FTC Acting Chairwoman Maureen Ohlhausen.

>> Related: Equifax cyberattack: How to get a free credit report, protect your identity

He called the incident “one of the largest, and potentially most impactful, breaches in recent history.”

Equifax breach: You can sue if your data was exposed; here's how

Two class-action lawsuits have been filed on behalf of customers affected by a massive breach at Equifax.

>> Watch the news report here

Officials with the Atlanta-based credit reporting and technology company said a “cyber security incident” may have exposed the personal information of 143 million U.S. consumers.

The data that might have been accessed includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses.

>> Equifax reports massive data breach that could affect 143 million in U.S.

Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes has partnered with a Florida firm for a class-action lawsuit. 

"This is not a windfall thing. These are real damages and real fears that folks have," he said. "There's no telling, but I guarantee you most of this information was auctioned off in just a matter of hours."

>> Equifax data breach: What to know

Barnes said that if you've been compromised, you are automatically a part of the class-action suit unless you opt out.

"You don't have to do anything. We have class representatives and there will come a time when we'll contact folks," he said. 

>> Equifax cyberattack: How to get a free credit report, protect your identity

He said he is going after what it takes to make things right. 

"What the money should be is what is necessary to hire someone to straighten out your credit so that you don't disrupt your life forever," he said. "And some money for the fact that (Equifax) negligently, and in violation of several federal statutes, allowed for this information to get out."

>> Read more trending news

Barnes said among many demands is that Equifax have its security audited, tested and trained and that the company purges information it doesn't need. 

WSB-TV's Nicole Carr visited the Clark Howard Consumer Action Center, where volunteers have received nearly three times their normal call volume with concerns about Equifax.

Volunteers said more than 500 calls came in Wednesday and 99 percent of them were about Equifax.

"I've been here for 20 years. This is the busiest day we've had," said Consumer Action Center volunteer Lori Silverman. 

She said volunteers are working to ease fears about the data breach. 

"Because 140 million people are trying to freeze their credit, the sites are crashing and they're unable to thaw their credit. That's a difficult situation to be in," she said. "We're recommending (everyone) hang tight. Hopefully, all of the hysteria will slowly go away and within the next couple of weeks you'll be able to freeze your credit."

The Consumer Action Center recommends you freeze your credit through Credit Karma. Equifax has rescinded fine print that kept consumers from suing them if they signed up for their free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection. 

"Now they say they're backing off of that, but I would advise everybody: Do not interact with Equifax right now," Barnes said. 

Click here for Barnes' advice on what you should do.

Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey brings job opportunities at FEMA to Texans

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency is hiring Texan workers to help with the recovery process after Hurricane Harvey.

>> Read more trending news

The new hires will assist teams of local, state and federal workers, along with volunteers from charities and community groups already on the ground, TIME reported.

The agency will work alongside the Texas Workforce Commission to place qualified workers where they can offer the most aid. Each position pays between $14 and $34 per hour.

The positions available through the FEMA program include:

  • Administrative support assistant
  • Civil engineer
  • Communications specialist
  • Construction cost estimator
  • Courier
  • Crisis counselor
  • Customer service specialist
  • Environmental specialist
  • Floodplain management specialist
  • Graphics specialist
  • Hazard mitigation outreach specialist
  • Historic preservation specialist
  • Registered nurse
  • Sign language interpreter
  • Voluntary agency liaison

RELATED: FEMA to states: plan for climate change or lose federal aid

In a press statement announcing the program, FEMA officials said that the agency “gains valuable community insights, provides jobs and puts Texans to work helping Texans.”

One position that demonstrates that mission is the customer service specialist, who will “serve as the primary point of contact for persons inquiring about disaster assistance,” according to the FEMA website.

The duties for this position will also include “assisting disaster victims, processing claim requests for disaster assistance, and providing information regarding available programs to individuals applying for disaster assistance.”

The agency is also opening up positions in its “reservist” program. The “temporary, on-call and intermittent” positions include duties ranging from hazard mitigation and remediation to historic preservation to financial management.

Interested applicants can submit their resumes and applications through the Texas Workforce Commission website or through the FEMA website.

The agency will be announcing new job postings as they become available.

Woman shocked to find sign with racist slur at gas station

A woman in Albuquerque was taken aback by the sign she said was in the window of a Shell gas station Saturday.

The sign read, "Leave yesterday ... please (N-word)," with the derogatory term written out.

>> Read more trending news

Maria Meeks told KRQE she went into the gas station to ask employees about the sign. Meeks claims the employee she spoke to laughed and said they posted the sign to discourage a vagrant from hanging out in front of the business.

Meeks contacted Shell's corporate office, KRQE reported. A company spokesperson told KRQE it is investigating the matter and is filing a formal complaint. Shell said the gas stations are independently owned.

Apple unveils iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus

Original report: Apple is expected to unveil a redesigned iPhone on Tuesday at a product event scheduled at 10 a.m. PDT at its new headquarters in Cupertino, California, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

The unveiling will take place at the newly opened Steve Jobs Theater.

The anticipated phone would be unveiled a decade after Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs first introduced the world to the iPhone, according to The Associated Press

“(It) could also cost twice what the original iPhone did,” the AP reported, adding that the phone was expected to cost $1,000. “It would set a new price threshold for any smartphone intended to appeal to a mass market.”

Citing an information leak,  Bloomberg reported that the phone will be called the iPhone X. It will be one of three phones, including the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, unveiled Tuesday, according to Bloomberg.

>> Watch the product event from Steve Jobs Theater

The information leak was first reported by the Apple news site 9to5Mac. The site reported that the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus are expected to have subtle improvements over the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, but that the iPhone X is "the major new phone."

The iPhone X is expected to have numerous upgrades, including a larger, crisper OLED screen, improved cameras and a facial recognition system meant to replace Apple’s Touch ID, 9to5Mac reported.

Dairy Queen owner defends 'politically incorrect’ restaurant sign

A Wisconsin Dairy Queen owner is defending a sign he placed at his restaurant that is generating controversy.

The sign at the Dairy Queen in Kewaskum says, "This restaurant is politically incorrect." It warns patrons that staff may say "Merry Christmas," ''Happy Easter" and "God Bless America." The sign also lets customers know that the restaurant honors the flag and offers free sundaes to veterans on Veterans Day. "In God We Trust" is written in large letters at the bottom of the sign.

>> Read more trending news

Owner Kevin Scheunemann tells WDJT that he felt the sign was "appropriate to hang in terms of being transparent about the views of the owner and staff supporting God and country."

A customer who was offended took a photo of the sign and posted it on Facebook, where it has generated a heated discussion.

The chain told WDJT that the sign "expresses the views of this independent owner only" and doesn't speak for the company or other franchise owners.

Equifax cyberattack: How to get a free credit report, protect your identity

Credit reporting juggernaut Equifax announced Thursday that its information was compromised in a major cyberattack affecting 143 million Americans – or two-thirds of people with credit reports.

>> Read more trending news

Hackers were able to get birth dates, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers and addresses, according to Equifax, leaving some to wonder how they can protect themselves.

Here are some tips for ensuring your information is secure:

Find out whether you were affected by the hack through Equifax’s website. The site asks for a person’s last name and the last six digits of their Social Security number in order to determine whether the person was caught in the breach.

Don’t bother with Equifax’s monitoring serviceClark.com reported, noting that the company offering the service is the same one that was hacked.

“The only way to truly protect yourself is with a credit freeze,” Clark.com reported, recommending that people freeze their credit files with all three of America’s major credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and Transunion. Doing so does not affect whether or not a person can use already existing lines of credit.

>> Read more information on freezing your credit on Clark.com

Review your credit report and put a fraud alert on it if you are affected, Popular Mechanics suggested. A fraud alert will make it necessary for banks and credit companies to jump through extra hoops to confirm your identity. The magazine noted that a fraud alert filed with any one of America’s three credit bureaus -- Equifax, Experian and Transunion -- will be shared between the three.

>> Read more information on fraud alerts from the Federal Trade Commission

Whether or not you decide to put a fraud alert on your credit file, you can still obtain a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the credit bureaus. The reports can be obtained through annualcreditreport.com or by completing and mailing an annual credit report request form, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

>> Read more information on obtaining free credit reports from the Federal Trade Commission

You may order your reports from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies at the same time, or you can order your report from each of the companies one at a time. The law allows you to order one free copy of your report from each of the nationwide credit reporting companies every 12 months.

Gap, Banana Republic closing 200 stores

Gap Inc., which owns Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta and two other brands, will close hundreds of stores to make way for new ones. 

>> Read more trending news 

According to The Associated Press, the clothing retailer plans to close 200 Gap and Banana Republic stores in the next three years. The company plans to open 270 new Old Navy and Athleta stores during that time. 

The move supports efforts to leverage Old Navy and Athleta, which have reported rising sales, while Gap and Banana Republic have reported drops in sales.

Gap Inc., like many other retailers, has seen the impact of consumers’ preference to shop online, making it difficult for some brick-and-mortar stores to report significant earnings.

According to the AP, Old Navy is on track to surpass $10 billion in sales in the next few years, and Athleta is expected to exceed $1 billion in sales.

Read more at The Associated Press.

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