City of Philadelphia Announces Hack, Potentially Exposing City Emails

  • By Steven
  • Oct 25, 2023

City of Philadelphia Announces Hack

Philly is the most populous city in the United States, hosting more than 1.5 million residents within its borders. The City employs around 30,000 people, fulfilling over 1,000 job categories. Recently, the City discovered suspicious activity within its email system, leading to potential information exposures of those with accessible accounts. If you have a city email account, your information could be at risk for misuse.

How Did the Attack Occur? 

The City of Philadelphia’s Privacy Incident report gives little information about the attack or how it was able to happen. The report describes the attack as “suspicious activity in its email environment,” which impacted particular email accounts. Although there are a lot of unknowns about the attack, we might speculate about the language used in the report. It’s not immediately clear if the attack occurred following a security vulnerability or a hacking assault; it could be the attack after a successful phishing plot or from opportunistic actors taking advantage of permission misconfigurations. 

What Information Was Viewed or Stolen? 

The data at risk are from accounts presumably associated with the City—although not all are at risk for exposure. The incident report lists some medical information within the accessed accounts. Impacted data may vary between accounts and individuals, yet the report lists some data types, demographic data like name, Social Security Number (SSN), and date of birth; medical data like diagnoses and treatment-related credentials; and financial data like claims reports. If the attackers accessed your data during this breach, it’s not too late to take preventative actions. 

How Did the City of Philadelphia Admit to the Breach? 

There is conflicting information about the period leading up to the City’s breach discovery. The incident report claims the breach occurred between May 26th, 2023, and July 28th, 2023; however, some resources purport the breach happened as early as March 2023. Despite the conflicting details, the incident report states the City discovered the suspicious activity on or around May 24th, 2023. Three months later, on or around August 22nd, the City recognized that threat actors may have accessed some emails. On October 20th, the City published its Privacy Incident report, although the investigation is ongoing. 

What Will Become of the Stolen Information? 

We don’t know who launched the attack, their goals, or if they succeeded; subsequently, predicting how they might misuse any stolen credentials is challenging. We can speculate how malicious actors might use the stolen data based on the details that the assailants potentially accessed. For example, a person’s name and SSN may be enough for opportunists to impersonate another or commit identity fraud. Medical data can be misused to obtain services or access an internal network. Misused financial details can result in various consequences, including claims, credit, and banking fraud. No matter what becomes of the details, you could be at risk if your data is exposed.

What Should Affected Parties Do in the Aftermath of the Breach? 

Though the investigation is ongoing, impacted parties can take action to defend themselves before being notified of the exposure. If you’ve had a City of Philadelphia email account since March 2023, consider taking steps to guard yourself. You can prevent most unwanted attacks from occurring by monitoring your information. Guard yourself by investing in an identity, credit, and medical record monitoring service that can detect suspicious activity the moment it happens. Also, avoid giving away personal information over email or text, especially when speaking with a stranger.

About the Author
IDStrong Logo

Related Articles

Instagram Vulnerability Allowed Hackers Access to Control Your Phone

Security experts Check Point Research discovered a critical vulnerability while examining Instagra ... Read More

Alien Malware Infects More than 226 Mobile Apps and Steals Bank Data

As reported on September 24, 2020, by ZDNet and ThreatPost, a new strain of malware named “A ... Read More

Universal Health Systems Hit by Ransomware Attack

Universal Health Systems (UHS), a Fortune 500 company owning more than 400 hospitals across the co ... Read More

Exchange Server Bug Exposes a Big Risk to Hackers

Months after Microsoft released a patch to fix a serious flaw in MS Exchange Server, more than 61% ... Read More

Clients’ Bank Data Exposed in Blackbaud Ransomware Attack

Blackbaud software was victim to a ransomware attack last May, and new information suggests that c ... Read More

Latest Articles

Health Organization Records Stolen via Welltok’s MOVEit - 930k+ Including Minors

Health Organization Records Stolen via Welltok’s MOVEit - 930k+ Including Minors

The number of victims caused by the global MOVEit data breach continues to climb; Welltok has announced more exposures, this time from three more health organizations.

MOVEit Breach Creates More Victims; 105k Records Stolen from Insurance Group

MOVEit Breach Creates More Victims; 105k Records Stolen from Insurance Group

"Pan American Life Insurance Group Building - New Orleans" by Tony Webster is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Source: Flickr

New York Healthcare Provider Notified 600k Following Network Cyberattack

New York Healthcare Provider Notified 600k Following Network Cyberattack

East River Medical Imaging (ERMI) has three locations in New York City and Westchester County.  ERMI is a "multi-modality radiology center," including patient-centered solutions like MRIs, CTs, ultrasounds, imaging, radiology, fluoroscopy, and x-rays.

Featured Articles

How to Buy a House with Bad Credit

How to Buy a House with Bad Credit

Buying your own home is the American Dream, but it might seem out of reach to those with bad credit. However, the good news is, if your credit is less than perfect, you do still have options and in most cases, can still buy a home.

How Secure Is Your Password? Tips to Improve Your Password Security

How Secure Is Your Password? Tips to Improve Your Password Security

Any good IT article on computers and network security will address the importance of strong, secure passwords. However, the challenge of good passwords is that most people have a hard time remembering them, so they use simple or obvious ones that pose a security risk.

Top 10 Senior Scams and How to Prevent Them

Top 10 Senior Scams and How to Prevent Them

Senior scams are becoming a major epidemic for two reasons. First, seniors often have a lot of money in the bank from a life of working hard and saving.

Free Identity Threat Scan
Instantly Check if Your Personal Information is Exposed
All fields below are required
Please enter first name
Please enter last name
Please enter a city
Please select a state
Please enter an age
Please enter an email address