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Important: Notification of data breach on FIRST Forums

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  • Important: Notification of data breach on FIRST Forums

    Dear FIRSTĀ® Participant,

    We wish to inform you of an event that may affect the security of your username and password on our FIRST forums.

    What happened? On March 6, 2017, FIRST received a report of suspicious activity for two externally hosted websites – the FIRST Forum (forums.usfirst.org) and FIRST Tech Challenge Forum (ftcforum.usfirst.org). FIRST immediately launched an internal investigation into this report to figure out what happened and what information may be impacted. While the investigation is ongoing, it has been determined that the two websites were accessed between January 21, 2017, and March 7, 2017. These websites are forums where members of the FIRST robotics community can ask questions that are answered by the FIRST community and forum moderators. No other FIRST websites, including the FIRST registration sites, were affected.

    What information is involved? While the investigation into this incident is ongoing, participant information may have included participants’ usernames (individually defined, which may or may not include both first or last name), email address, date of birth, and encrypted password. No other personally identifiable, financial, or credit card information is stored on these websites.

    What we are doing: Once FIRST received notice of the suspicious activity, the websites were immediately shut down. The organization has taken steps to address the vulnerability discovered to prevent further unauthorized access. FIRST is implementing additional security measures designed to prevent similar incidents from reoccurring, and to protect the privacy of the FIRST community. Although the passwords were encrypted, all participant passwords were reset in an abundance of caution. At this time, FIRST does not believe that the individual who hacked the external websites accessed the computer network or that IT systems were otherwise compromised by this incident.

    What you can do: FIRST encourages affected participants to remain vigilant against incidents of fraud. Although passwords were encrypted, in an abundance of caution FIRST is advising participants to change their password. The next time participants log in to the forum site, they will need to reset their password using the forgotten password feature on the Log In page. Additionally, if participants reuse the same password for other website accounts, FIRST strongly recommend changing passwords on those accounts.

    For more information: FIRST values participant privacy and deeply regrets that this incident occurred. Participants who have questions about this incident, that are not addressed, can contact Customer Service at (800) 871-8326 or (603) 666-3906, option “0”, between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, with any further questions.


    Additional information for Rhode Island residents:

    While no Social Security numbers or financial information was stored on the impacted websites, FIRST also suggests that affected individuals carefully review their credit reports. Under U.S. law, you are entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit bureaus. To obtain a free credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com, or call, toll-free, (877) 322-8228. You may also contact the three major credit bureaus directly to request a free copy of your credit report. When you receive your credit reports, you should review them carefully. Look for accounts you did not open as well as inquiries from creditors that you did not initiate. Also, you should look for personal information that is not accurate, such as home address or Social Security Number. If you see anything on the report that you do not understand, call the credit reporting agency at the telephone number on the report. If you find suspicious activity on your credit reports, call your local police or sheriff’s office and file a police report of identity theft. You should ask for a copy of the police report, as you may need to give copies of the police report to creditors to clear your records. Even if you do not find any signs of fraud on your reports, we recommend that you check your credit reports periodically.

    At no charge, affected individuals can also have these credit bureaus place a “fraud alert” on your file that alerts creditors to take additional steps to verify your identity prior to granting credit in your name. Please note, however, that because it tells creditors to follow certain procedures to protect an individual’s credit, it may also delay the ability to obtain credit while the agency verifies the individual’s identity. As soon as one credit bureau confirms a fraud alert, the others are notified to place fraud alerts on an individual’s file. If you wish to place a fraud alert, or you have questions regarding your credit report, you can contact any one of the following agencies:
    Equifax
    P.O. Box 105069
    Atlanta, GA 30348
    800-525-6285
    www.equifax.com
    Experian
    P.O. Box 2002
    Allen, TX 75013
    888-397-3742
    www.experian.com
    TransUnion
    P.O. Box 2000
    Chester, PA 19022-2000
    800-680-7289
    www.transunion.com

    Affected individuals may also place a security freeze on their credit reports. A security freeze prohibits a credit bureau from releasing any information from a consumer’s credit report without the consumer’s written authorization. However, please be advised that placing a security freeze on your credit report may delay, interfere with, or prevent the timely approval of any requests you make for new loans, credit mortgages, employment, housing or other services.

    If an affected individual has been a victim of identity theft, and provides the credit bureau with a valid police report, he or she will not be charged to place, lift or remove a security freeze. In other cases, a credit bureau may charge you a fee to place, temporarily lift, or permanently remove a security freeze. A credit bureau cannot charge a resident to place, lift, or remove a security freeze. Individuals will need to place a security freeze separately with each of the three major credit bureaus listed above if you wish to place the freeze on all of your credit files.

    For more information on how to place a security freeze, affected individuals may use the following contact information:
    Equifax Security Freeze
    P.O. Box 105788
    Atlanta, GA 30348
    1-800-685-1111
    (NY residents please call 1-800-349-9960)
    www.equifax.com/help/credit-freeze/en_cp
    Experian Security Freeze
    P.O. Box 9554
    Allen, TX 75013
    1-888-397-3742
    www.experian.com/freeze/center.html
    TransUnion Fraud Victim Assistance
    P.O. Box 2000
    Chester, PA 19022-2000
    800-680-7289
    www.transunion.com/freeze

    Affected individuals can further educate themselves regarding identity theft, fraud alerts, security freezes, and the steps you can take to protect themselves, by contacting your state Attorney General or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC also encourages those who discover that their information has been misused to file a complaint with them. The FTC can be reached at: 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580; www.ftc.gov/idtheft; 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338); and TTY: 1-866-653-4261. You should also report known or suspected identity theft to your state Attorney General or local law enforcement. You have the right to file a police report if you ever experience identity theft or fraud. Please note that in order to file a crime report or incident report with law enforcement for identity theft, you will likely need to provide some kind of proof that they have been a victim. The Rhode Island Attorney General may have advice on preventing identity theft and can be reached at: 150 South Main Street, Providence, RI 02903; (401)274-4400; http://www.riag.ri.gov/ ; (207) 626-8800. You can also learn more about placing a fraud alert or security freeze on your credit files by contacting the FTC or your state Attorney General.


    For more information: FIRST values participant privacy and deeply regrets that this incident occurred. Participants who have questions about this incident, that are not addressed, can contact Customer Service at (800) 871-8326 or (603) 666-3906, option “0”, between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, with any further questions.


    FIRSTĀ® 200 Bedford Street Manchester, NH 03101
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