Category Archives: Education

Education, Training, and Awareness

100k FAFSA apps hacked using autopopulate bug

It started with criminals filling out federal application for federal student aid (FAFSA aka federal studnet loan) forms but then circumventing access controls of the website.  The hackers were then able to get other applicants' information used for tax returns and then submit their own phony false tax returns to try to steal refunds.

The hackers were taking advantage of the faulty module in the site called IRS Data Retrieval which auto populates your online federal studnet loan application by using your already known tax return info.

The IRS claimed that in November 2015 they notified the Department of Education about these security concerns (breach) but the IRS didn't actually disable the exposure until March 2017.  The IRS has flagged at least 100,000 accounts as a result.

Individuals can still apply through FAFSA but will need to enter their information manually.

Australia’s new data breach notification law

The Australian Federal Government has recently passed the Notifiable Data Breaches Bill 2016.  This will introduce laws over the next twelve months which apply to businesses and nonprofits of $3M revenue, and also to Australian government agencies.  Small businesses with less than $3M annual turnover but providing health services are also required to participate.  Some of those small businesses affected include weight loss clinics, child care centers, chiropractors, gyms, hospitals, and pharmacists.

The penalties for noncompliance in promptly reporting suspected breaches to the Australian Privacy and Information Commissioner plus customers may result in penalties up to $350,000 for individuals and $1.8M for corporations.

VA, NM, and TN new data breach notification laws

Starting April 4, 2017, Tennessee has passed an amendment to its state data breach notification statute which states that businesses that experience a breach of encrypted data do not need to notify affected residents unless the encryption key was also compromised.

Then, on June 6, 2017, New Mexico's new Data Breach Notification Act signed by Governor Susana Martinez will go into effect removing it as one of three (South Dakota anad Alabama) of the 50 states in the United States to lack breach notification legislation. 

On July 1, 2017, Viriginia's data breach notification statute shall include an amendment under italicized language in § 18.2-186.6(M) which affects employers or payroll service providers if they experience an unauthorized access and acquisition of unencrypted taxpayer's personal information.  In that situation where they determine ID theft is likely then they will be required to notify the VA Attorney General of their name, federal employer ID number. The VA Attorney General will then notify the Department of Taxation.

2015 Veteran’s Day Discounts

The following discounts have been confirmed by for 2015:

(Remember: Not all locations may participate – be sure to check first.  Bring a DD-214, VA card, or VFW, DAV, American Legion or other service org ID)

2015 Veterans Day Restaurant Offerings:
Applebee’s — Veterans and active-duty military receive a free meal from a limited menu on Nov. 11.
Bar Louie – On Nov. 10-11, veterans and active military personnel get a free meal up to a $12 value.
Bob Evans — Veterans and active military personnel receive a free breakfast from a select menu on Nov. 11.
Bonanza Steakhouses – Active-duty and retired military get a free buffet on Nov. 11, 4 p.m. to close.
Cattlemens — Active, inactive and retired military personnel get a free small sirloin steak dinner on Nov. 11.
Cheeseburger in Paradise — Active and retired military personnel receive a complimentary burger with fries on Nov. 11.
Chili’s — Veterans and active military servicemembers get a free entrée from a limited menu on Nov. 11.
Denny’s — Active, inactive and retired military personnel get a free Build Your Own Grand Slam on Nov. 11 from 5 a.m. to noon at participating locations.
Friendly’s — Friendly’s is treating veterans and active military to a free breakfast, lunch or dinner from a limited menu on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
Golden Corral — Golden Corral Restaurants' Military Appreciation Night free dinner will be available on Nov. 11 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Military retirees, veterans, active duty, National Guard and reserves are all welcome.
IHOP– On Nov. 11, participating IHOP restaurants offer veterans and active-duty military free Red, White and Blue pancakes from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Krystal — Active and retired military receive a free Krystal chicken or sausage biscuit from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Nov. 11.
Little Caesars — Veterans and active military members receive a free $5 Lunch Combo from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 11.
McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants — On Nov. 8, participating McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurants will offer a complimentary entrée to veterans from a special menu.
Max & Erma's – On Nov. 11, participating Max & Erma’s locations are offering veterans and active military personnel a free Best Cheeseburger in America Combo meal.
Menchie's —  All active and retired military personnel will receive a free 6 oz. frozen yogurt on Nov. 11.
Mission BBQ — Veterans and active-duty military get a free sandwich and a slice of cake on Nov. 11.
On the Border — Veterans and active-duty military can enjoy a free meal from the “Create Your Own Combo” menu on Nov. 11.
Orange Leaf — Veterans and active-duty military get a free cup of froyo on Nov. 11.
Pondrosa Steakhouse – Active-duty and retired military get a free buffet on Nov. 11, 4 p.m. to close.
Red Hot & Blue — Veterans receive a free entrée with the purchase of a second entrée on Nov. 9, 10 and 11. Coupon required.
Rock and Brews — Veterans and active military personnel receive a complimentary pulled pork sandwich with a side choice throughout the day on Nov. 11.
Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza & Grill — Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza & Grill is offering a choice between complimentary hummus served with grilled herb flatbread or garlic cheese bread on Nov. 11.
Shoney's — Shoney's will offer a free All-American Burger to veterans and active-duty servicemembers on Nov. 11.
Spaghetti Warehouse — From Nov. 9 through Nov. 11, buy one entrée and get the second entrée free. Coupon required.
Texas Roadhouse — Texas Roadhouse locations nationwide will offer veterans a free lunch on Nov. 11 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Offer is good for active-duty, retired or former U.S. military.
Uno Pizzeria & Grill – Veterans and active military get a free entrée or individual pizza with an entrée or pizza purchase of equal or greater value on Nov. 11.
Village Inn — Veterans and active military personnel receive a free breakfast on Nov. 11 from a select menu at participating locations. Village Inn is also providing a “Thank you For Your Service” card valid for 20 percent off on the next visit.
Wienerschnitzel — Veterans and active-duty military receive a free chili dog and a small Pepsi on Nov. 11.

2015 Veterans Day Travel and Recreation Discounts:
9/11 Memorial and Museum — Veterans will receive free museum admission from Nov. 7 to Nov. 11.
Army Corp of Engineers Recreation Areas — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will waive day-use fees for veterans, active and reserve-component servicemembers, and their families at USACE-operated recreation areas nationwide on Nov. 11.
Colonial Williamsburg – Active-duty military, reservists, retirees, veterans and their direct dependents receive free Colonial Williamsburg admission for Veterans Day weekend (Nov. 6–11).
Harley-Davidson Museum — The Harley-Davidson Museum is offering free admission to active military, veterans and their families on Nov. 7, 8 and 11 in honor of Veterans Day.
Killington Resort – Active-duty, retired and honorably discharged members of the military receive a complimentary lift ticket on Nov. 11.
Knott’s Berry Farm — Knott's Berry Farm is offering free admission for veterans and active-duty military personnel and one guest, as well as six additional tickets for a discounted price, from Nov. 1 to Dec. 20.
Mariners’ Museum — Military members receive a special $5 admission price on Nov. 11.
Meineke Car Care Centers —  On Nov. 11, veterans are encouraged to visit participating Meineke locations for a free basic oil change.
National Parks — On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, veterans will have access to over 100 national parks requiring entrance fees for free.
National Veterans Day Run — The National Veterans Day Run on Nov. 11 offers veterans and active-duty military a reduced-rate entry into the race, as well as discounted rates to their spouses and children between 13 and 18.
Westgate Resorts — Starting Nov. 11, the first 2,500 eligible servicemembers who complete an online military appreciation form will receive a complimentary three-day, two-night vacation. Veterans who don’t qualify are eligible for a 25 percent discount. Visit for the survey.
UFC GYM — Veterans and active-duty military, as well as their families, get free total gym access from Nov. 11-15 at participating UFC GYMs. UFC GYM is also offering a special basic training-themed Daily Ultimate Training class on Nov. 14.
World of Coca-Cola – Active-duty, reserves and retirees get free admission year-round, and Nov. 5 through Nov. 15, members of the armed forces may also purchase up to four half-price general admission tickets for their friends and family.

2015 Veterans Day Retailer Offerings:
Alfred Angelo – Military brides get a free wedding gown on Veterans Day. An appointment to the store must be made for Nov. 11 to qualify.
Alimond Studio – Veterans and active-duty servicemembers get a free headshot at Alimond Studio on Saturday, Nov. 7. from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Leesburg, Va.
Bellhops — the moving company is offering free moving labor for veterans from Nov. 13 to Dec. 15. Veterans must call on Veterans Day to schedule an appointment.
Brides Across America – Brides Across America holds a wedding gown giveaway in partnership with bridal salons across the country in November to honor Veterans Day. Qualifying brides register to attend the event at a participating bridal salon by completing the registration form and paying a $20 fee. Once verified, you will be assisted in finding a gown from the selection.
Cardiac Life — For the month of November, Cardiac Life is offering veterans $15 CPR courses.
Carhartt’s — active-duty and retired military servicemembers who present a military ID at one of Carhartt’s 21 company-owned stores will receive a complimentary exclusive hat, while supplies last.
Enterprise Car Sales — Active U.S. military members, veterans and their dependents get a Firestone Prepaid Maintenance Package with the purchase of any Enterprise vehicle during the month of November.
Firestone Complete Auto Care — Nov. 8-15, veterans and active-duty personnel receive an additional 10 percent off the lowest advertised price of any automotive service.
Grace for Vets — Car washes from around the world who join this program offer free car washes to veterans and servicemembers on Nov. 11.
Great Clips – On Nov. 11, customers who come in for a service can get a free haircut card to give to their favorite veteran. Veterans can also receive a free haircut or get the free haircut card. Haircuts are redeemable until Dec. 31.
Home Depot — Home Depot offers a 10 percent discount to all veterans on Nov. 11. Home Depot offers the 10 percent discount year-round to active-duty and retirees.
Little Bra Company — Save 15 percent during the month of November on all regular-priced merchandise at the Little Bra Company when you shop online.
Lowe's — All veterans receive a 10 percent discount on Nov. 11. The offer is available in stores only.
Rack Room Shoes — Military personnel and their dependents get a 10 percent discount off entire purchase on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
Sleep Number — From Oct. 19 through Nov. 15, active and veteran military members will receive exclusive discounts on Sleep Number products. Save up to $700 on select Sleep Number mattress sets.
Steve Madden — Steve Madden offers everyone 20 percent off the entire purchase, and servicemembers receive an additional 10 percent off on Nov. 11.
Tires Plus — Between Nov. 8-15, veterans and active-duty personnel receive an additional 10 percent off the lowest advertised price of any automotive service.
Wheel Works — Between Nov. 8-15, veterans and active-duty personnel receive an additional 10 percent off the lowest advertised price of any automotive service.

IRS loses 11k+ SSNs & DOBs of Texas Katy ISD

On August 7, 2015, Texas’s Katy Intermediate School District (ISD) was informed that an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agent misplaced a portable flash drive during a random audit.

Katy ISD Superintendent Alton Frailey explained the security breach in an email
Katy ISD Superintendent Alton Frailey explained the security breach in an email

On the flash drive are the contents of calendar year 2013 contributions made to a 403(b) plan or 457(b) plan by 11,658 current and former employees of the Katy ISD.  Included in the contribution information on that thumb drive are those 11,658 employees dates of birth, social security numbers, names, and mailing addresses.