Enjoy our roundup of stories that piqued our interest this week.
This week we tackle the following:
- As year of free credit-report monitoring from Equifax ends, here’s what to do - TrustedID Premier, will expire at the end of January.
- Coerced drinking, servitude, limited sleep: Hazing detailed at Lehigh Valley colleges - Tragic implications of underage drinking.
- Why vaping is so dangerous for teens - Experts say the technology and chemistry of vaping might pose an entirely different threat about nicotine addiction.
- Massive mortgage and loan data leak gets worse as original documents also exposed - Servers without a password = fraud.
Consumers affected by Equifax’s huge data breach in 2017 may need to re-establish protections on their credit report if they “locked” their files as part of the company’s free credit-monitoring offer.
People who accepted Equifax’s offer after the breach have been notified that the free service, TrustedID Premier, will expire at the end of January.
If subscribers locked their Equifax credit files using the service to prevent the opening of fraudulent accounts, the locks will automatically lift when TrustedID expires, according to Equifax. The locks will also end if, before Jan. 31, the consumer enrolls in a similar service that breach victims are being offered as an alternative.
The schools released their first hazing reports this week, as required under a Pennsylvania law passed last year following the death of Tim Piazza. The 19-year-old Penn State University freshman from Hunterdon County consumed a large amount of alcohol and fell several times in February 2017 as a fraternity was accepting new members.
"Based on the number of reports that were made during the past five years, hazing is far too often viewed by students as an accepted form of social bonding or as a typical and harmless rite of initiation," Lehigh University administrators, including President John D. Simon, wrote to the campus community in releasing Lehigh's hazing report Tuesday.
Experts say that one Juul pod -- a cartridge of nicotine-rich liquid that users plug into the dominant e-cig brand -- contains the same amount of nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.
"That may be true, but that's not the only consideration here," said Levy, adding that it's yet unclear "how high those peaks go and how quickly it gets into the bloodstream and into the brain."
Levy said that it's not uncommon for kids to report symptoms that "sound a lot like nicotine toxicity," including headaches and stomach aches. She suspects these devices cause nicotine levels in the blood to peak higher than they do with traditional cigarettes -- but experts say more research is needed to better understand how vapes work on the body and brain.
In case you missed it, millions of documents were found leaking after an exposed Elasticsearch server was found without a password. The documents contained highly sensitive financial data on tens of thousands of individuals who took out loans or mortgages over the past decade with U.S. financial institutions. The documents were converted using a technology called OCR from their original paper documents to a computer readable format and stored in the database, but they weren’t easy to read. That said, it was possible to discern names, addresses, birth dates, Social Security numbers and other private financial data by anyone who knew where to find the server.