Federal probe launched after Equifax data breach

Published: Thursday, September 14, 2017 @ 10:06 AM

143 Million Could Be Affected by 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.

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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.”

In this July 18, 2012, file photo, a pedestrian walks past credit card logos posted on a downtown storefront in Atlanta. On Monday, Sept. 11, 2017, Equifax said it has made changes to address customer complaints since it disclosed a week earlier that it exposed vital data on about 143 million Americans. Equifax has come under fire from members of Congress, state attorneys general, and people who are getting conflicting answers about whether their information was stolen. Equifax is trying again to clarify language about people's right to sue, and said Monday it has made changes to address customer complaints. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)(David Goldman/AP)

House Ethics Committee probe launched after Kihuen accused of sexual harassment

Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 1:37 PM

This Nov. 14, 2016 file photo Rep.-elect Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev.,right, speaks with reporters as Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., left, listens on Capitol Hill in Washington. The chairman of the House Democrats' campaign committee called on Kihuen to step down after a report Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, that he allegedly sexually harassed his campaign's finance director. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen,File)
Cliff Owen/AP
This Nov. 14, 2016 file photo Rep.-elect Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev.,right, speaks with reporters as Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., left, listens on Capitol Hill in Washington. The chairman of the House Democrats' campaign committee called on Kihuen to step down after a report Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, that he allegedly sexually harassed his campaign's finance director. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen,File)(Cliff Owen/AP)

The House Ethics Committee announced Friday that it has opened an investigation into sexual harassment allegations levied against Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nevada.

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The announcement came after a pair of women accused the congressman Kihuen was sworn into office in January. Before representing Nevada’s 4th Congressional District in the House of Representatives, Kihuen served in the Nevada Senate.

A woman, who was not identified for fear of retribution, told The Nevada Independent on Thursday that she was working as a lobbyist when Kihuen was a state senator and that he “touched her thighs or buttocks on three separate occasions without her consent.”

She showed the newspaper a slew of suggestive text messages she said were sent to her by Kihuen during the 2015 legislative session, including one asking that she “come sit on his lap in the middle of a committee meeting,” the Independent reported.

She said she had previously dealt with a slew of inappropriate Facebook messages from Kihuen, all sent during the 2013 legislative session.

“I don’t think Ruben thinks what he did was wrong,” she told the Independent. “Like, I think he just thought he was playing around, which, I don’t think he realized the position he probably put people in.”

In a statement obtained by the Independent, Kihuen pointed to his 10 years in the state Legislature, during which time he “dated several different women,” he said.

“Out of respect for their privacy, I won’t discuss my communications or any other details of those relationship,” he said.

Prominent Men Accused Of Sexual Misconduct In 2017

Earlier this month, a woman told BuzzFeed News that she quit her job as a finance director for Kihuen’s 2016 congressional campaign after he made repeated sexual advances toward her.

The woman, identified only by the name Samantha, told the news site she began working for Kihuen in December 2015. She said ongoing sexual harassment led her to quit by April 2016. 

Twice, she said, he touched her thighs without her consent. She told Buzzfeed that Kihuen once touched her thigh while they were in a car together and after he asked if she had ever cheated on her boyfriend.

“She told him to stop, and said she said ‘no,’ and began talking about her boyfriend,” the news site reported.

In a separate incident in March, Samantha told BuzzFeed that Kihuen grabbed the back of her thigh in March 2016 as she was trying to help him with his computer while he was making fundraising calls.

“I asked him what he was doing and he stopped,” she said.

Democratic Party leaders have called on Kihuen to step down in the wake of the accusations. 

“In Congress, no one should face sexual harassment in order to work in an office or in a campaign,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said Dec. 2, after Samantha came forward. “The young woman’s documented account is convincing, and I commend her for the courage it took to come forward. In light of these upsetting allegations, congressman Kihuen should resign.”

Kihuen said last week that he has no intention to resign in light of the allegations, according to CNN.

“I’m definitely not resigning,” he said on Dec. 6. “That’s all I can tell you for now.”

Strangers come together to help mother get her life back on track

Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 12:49 PM

WATCH: Strangers Work Together To Help Mother Get Her Life Back on Track

A South Carolina mother who gave up her children so she could get clean has received an early Christmas present, thanks to the kindness of strangers.

Jessica McCutcheon surrendered her children to the Department of Social Services. Officials said she had battled drug abuse and was a victim of domestic violence, WYFF reported.

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But recently, McCutcheon turned her life around so much she was able to regain custody of her children. 

Meredith Shannon, the foster mother of McCutcheon’s daughter, wanted to do something for the mother of the girl she took care of.

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“We just felt she was part of our family and we just felt that we needed her kids to have a good Christmas and we wanted to be a part of that,” Shannon told WYFF.

So she and her neighbor and some athletes at North Greenville University lent a hand. 

They collected $600 in gifts, including gift cards from local stores, while a stranger donated a car to McCutcheon and her family. 

The video of the life-changing gift has been posted online and has been viewed millions of times.

“She was borrowing people’s cars to get to work and to get her kids to school and I just felt that God laid it on our hearts and that we really needed to be able to provide a good car for her so that she could continue to parent her kids like she needed to,” Shannon told WYFF.

Animal control: Woman throws boyfriend’s dog to its death from 17th-floor window

Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 1:25 PM

File photo.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott Olson/Getty Images
File photo. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A woman was charged after throwing her boyfriend’s 2-year-old pug mix to its death from a 17th-floor window, according to animal control officials.

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Juanita Jones, 28, was charged with felony animal cruelty Thursday in the Nov. 30 incident, according to NJ.com

Hazel belonged to Jones’s boyfriend, Howie Ellis, 59, and landed about 5 feet from his vehicle in the parking lot, according to NJ.com

A witness, who called police, heard a commotion before Hazel was thrown and saw Jones, who looked like she was going to jump, according to NJ.com. The witness ran down two floors and held Jones until police arrived.

Jones was taken for a psychiatric evaluation after the incident, according to NJ.com. A court hearing is scheduled for Jones next week.

Man with concealed weapon permit fatally shoots would-be robber in Target parking lot

Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 11:49 AM

File photo. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
File photo. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)(Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

A man with a concealed weapon permit fatally shot a would-be robber Thursday evening, according to reports. 

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A 21-year-old man with gunshot wounds in his back and chest was found in the parking lot near a South Side Target, according to WMAQ. The man, who has not been identified, was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. 

A silver Nissan was seen leaving the area after shots were fired, according to the Chicago Tribune

The driver, who was not named, was stopped as he returned to the scene. Police found a semi-automatic gun, a revolver and spent casings in the car. 

The 27-year-old driver said he fired the semi-automatic gun after he was approached by the other man, who tried to rob him at gunpoint. 

He was returning to the scene to talk to police and was taken into custody.