If you live in a city with parking meters (as many do here in New England) there's a good chance you've at least encountered the ParkMobile system. The city I live in uses the service to charge (exorbitant) parking meter fees to help pay for public infrastructure and to help ensure users don't incur (more exorbitant) parking ticket fees for overstaying their welcome.
But as they say, this is how the cookie crumbles. ParkMobile, and the services like it, have become incredibly popular over the last ten years. You no longer have to scrounge through your cupholder to feed (almost) an entire roll of quarters to the parking gods.
I've used the app personally and it is incredibly convenient. You enter your credit or debit card, license plate number and you're off to the faces. Your fare is taken care of electronically and in mere seconds.
Of course, anytime you use such a service you run the risk of exposing yourself. And that is exactly what happened. 21 million ParkMobile users have been exposed in a recent hack. Telephone numbers, license plate numbers, and email addresses, all available to the highest bidder (for a whopping $125,000 no less).
The hack was discovered by Gemini Advisory, a New York-based cybersecurity firm with a reputation for closely monitoring forums on the dark web where the nefarious go to sell their wears. In March, they discovered a post on a Russian-Language forum (because of course, that's where it'd be) detailing what exactly was included in their score along with screenshots to prove it.
According to a variety of reports I've read, the hackers did get the following bits of information:
- Telephone Numbers
- License Plate Numbers
- Email Addresses
The hackers did not obtain the following:
- Payment Card Information
- Location Data
- User Passwords
Passwords were accessed by the hackers, but according to ParkMobile in a released statement, the passwords are encrypted and hackers were unable to obtain the keys necessary to decrypt them.
You can read their statement about the matter here.
I'm not sure that makes me feel any better, but hey, that's the world we live in. I was further discouraged by the fact ParkMobile didn't even notify me, an end-user of their product, that my data was compromised and that I should change my password, just in case.
The process to reset your password is...awful. It took me at least a dozen times before the ParkMobile system accepted my new password, regardless of the fact I met all of their criteria (including the use of an uppercase letter, lowercase letter, number, special symbol, yadda yadda yadda) I even copied and pasted the password from my desktop note add into both fields after ensuring I was typing the same thing over and over again. Finally, it accepted the new entry and I was good to go.
Fun, fun, fun.
Anyways, you should probably reset your password, which you can do by following the steps below (copied directly from the ParkMobile website, which you can also find here by using this link).
ParkMobile makes it quick and easy to change your password. You can change your password in the ParkMobile app or on the ParkMobile.io website. Here's how you do it.
Changing your Password in the App
In the app, touch the "Settings" button. Then select "Account Setting". Select "Change Password". Enter your current password, and then your new password and touch "Save". Your new password will need to meet the following requirements:
- At least 8-25 characters.
- An uppercase and lowercase letter
- At least one number
- At least one of these special characters !@#$%^
You can see how this works in the screens below.
Changing Your Password on the Web
You can also change your password on the ParkMobile.io website using this link - https://app.parkmobile.io/account/settings. The same password requirements apply. You can see how this works in the screens below.
If you do not remember your password, sign out of the app or web. Go back to the sign-in page in the app or web and select "Forgot Password". Enter your account email address or phone number. You will get a link with password reset instructions. Click on that link and create your new password.
Then go back to the ParkMobile app or ParkMobile.io website to sign in with your new password.
If you are still having password problems, please submit a support ticket and a representative will get back to you.
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