Hack meets Chamber of Commerce systems of the Chattanooga Area


The Chattanooga Region Chamber of Commerce informed members Monday that their technology systems had been hacked on Thursday, potentially compromising the emails and passwords of thousands of accounts.

“We are currently concerned that in addition to publicly available information such as company name and address, e-mails and passwords of members could have been compromised,” the chamber wrote in a message to members on Monday evening. “As passwords for multiple applications are frequently reused, we recommend that you, as a precaution, change important passwords and update your online security measures for other websites and programs.”

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The chamber has 1,800 to 2,000 business members, said Sybil Topel, vice president of marketing and communications.

“You should take every precaution,” she said.

The board has contacted authorities and there is an active investigation into the source of the hack, Topel said. Because of the ongoing investigation, the board could not provide any further details about the hack, its scope or its effects, she said.

“The members of the chamber team will be fully mobilized with the support of IT recovery, legal and incident management experts to get operations back to normal as soon as possible,” the chamber wrote in the press release on the incident. “The Chattanooga Chamber immediately took additional preventive measures to protect the organization and member data, and all relevant authorities have been notified.”

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Fred Cobb, executive vice president and chief information security officer of InfoSystems, said hack attempts are a constant threat to life on the Internet.

“For everyone you hear about in the newspapers and on the news, there are tens of thousands of attacks every week that never make the headlines,” he said.

Precautions like two-factor authentication and vigilance against phishing emails are critical to online security, he added.

“Everyone is a target when you are online,” he said.

Contact Mary Fortune at [email protected].com. Follow her on Twitter at @maryfortune.


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