Hack hits Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce systems

Thousands of member emails and passwords may have been exposed

Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce / Staff file photo

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

"At this time, we are concerned that member emails and passwords may have been compromised, in addition to publicly available information such as business name and address," the chamber wrote in a message to members Monday evening. "Since it is common to reuse passwords for multiple applications, we recommend that you change critical passwords and update your online security measures for other websites and programs as a precaution."

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

"They should all take precautions," she said.

The chamber has contacted authorities, and there's an active investigation into the source of the hack, Topel said. Because of the ongoing investigation, the chamber can't disclose any further details about the hack, its scope or its impacts, she said.

"Chamber team members are fully mobilized with the support of IT recovery, legal and incident management experts to return operations to normal as soon as possible," the chamber wrote in the release about the incident. "The Chattanooga Chamber immediately put in place additional preventive measures to protect the organization as well as member data, and all relevant authorities have been notified."

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Fred Cobb, executive vice president and chief information security officer for InfoSystems, said attempted hacks are a constant threat of life online.

"For every one you hear about in the newspapers and on the news, there are tens of thousands of attacks happening every week that never make the news," he said.

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

"Everyone is a target if you're online," he said.

Contact Mary Fortune at mfortune@timesfreepress.com. Follow her on Twitter at @maryfortune.