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Vox Sentences: Equifhacks

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Consumer credit-reporting agency Equifax reports a massive hack that could impact up to 143 million Americans; Mexico is rocked by a deadly earthquake; New Hampshire can't seem to shake off voter fraud allegations.


Hurricanes in the Atlantic, earthquakes in the Pacific

Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images
  • A long week of worldwide natural disasters is far from over, with the latest casualties in Mexico.
  • Late Thursday night, an 8.2 magnitude earthquake rocked Southern Mexico, killing 58 people and destroying entire buildings in some areas.[NYT / Elisabeth Malkin, Paulina Villegas and Azam Ahed]
  • The epicenter of the earthquake was technically offshore, in the Pacific Ocean, but the tremors were so powerful that they were felt as far as the capital, Mexico City, which is hundreds of miles away. [CNN / Joshua Berlinger and Mariano Castillo]
  • The fact the epicenter was in the ocean prompted tsunami warnings, but Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said the waves were not a major risk. [The Guardian / Sam Jones and David Agren]
  • Geological experts said that casualties and damage likely would have been much worse if the quake’s epicenter has been further inland. [LA Times / Kate Linthicum and Rong-Gong Lin II]
  • It’s the most powerful quake to hit the earthquake-prone country in about a century. Another devastating earthquake hit Mexico City in 1985, toppling buildings and killing thousands. Building standards in the country were tightened after the 1985 destruction, and many buildings in Mexico City were meant to withstand strong tremors. [Washington Post / Joshua Partlow]

After Equifax's latest hack, 143 million people could be vulnerable to credit fraud

Oleg Kharseev/Kommersant Photo via Getty Images
  • Consumer credit-reporting agency Equifax disclosed a massive hack into its system yesterday. The hack potentially leaves the information of up to 143 million Americans exposed. (That’s a little over 40 percent of the US population.) [CNBC / Sarah O’Brien]
  • It means people who have never signed up for Equifax could still be impacted, because the company receives data about millions of Americans from their credit card companies, retailers, and banks. [CNN Money / Katie Lobosco]
  • The compromised information is pretty vast, including names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers. Some people’s credit card information was also compromised. [AP / Ken Sweet]
  • While the hack isn’t the largest ever, it’s still very serious because the information hackers were able to access is far more in-depth than in past hacks. One fraud expert told reporters, “On a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of risk to consumers, this is a 10.” [NYT / Tara Siegel Bernard, Tiffany Hsu, Nicole Perlroth and Ron Lieber]
  • And it’s also not the first time the credit agency has been hacked; hackers gained access to its system twice before, prompting questions of why security was not improved to prevent a third attack. [NYT / Tara Siegel Bernard, Tiffany Hsu, Nicole Perlroth and Ron Lieber]
  • The company waited weeks before telling consumers about the breach, and has been getting criticism for offering free credit monitoring to affected consumers with a catch; it reportedly contains language requiring people to waive their right to sue Equifax if they sign up. [WSJ / AnnaMaria Andriotis and Aaron Lucchetti]
  • There are a number of ways people can take action to try to protect their information, including monitoring their credit score and checking their accounts, to freezing their credit score to make sure it isn’t stolen by thieves to open new lines of credit in their name. [AP / Ken Sweet]

No, a new report did not prove New Hampshire has widespread voter fraud

Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images
  • New Hampshire just can’t seem to shake allegations of voter fraud in the 2016 election, even though those allegations still have not been proven.
  • Allegations of voter fraud are again swirling around the Granite State, after a new report was released finding that most state residents who registered to vote on Election Day 2016 using out-of-state licenses still had not gotten New Hampshire driver’s licenses by August. [NHPR / Casey McDermott]
  • That report was seized on by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is currently serving on President Donald Trump’s election commission. Writing a column for Breitbart, Kobach declared it provided proof that there was voter fraud in New Hampshire’s 2016 election. [Breitbart / Kris Kobach]
  • To be clear, the report does not prove fraud. It’s perfectly legal for New Hampshire residents to vote if they have out-of-state licenses. [Washington Post / Christopher Ingraham]
  • The majority of people who register same-day in New Hampshire are out-of-state college students who can legally vote in the towns they go to school in. [NHPR / Casey McDermott and Rebecca Lavoie]
  • The state has become the center of controversy because it allows same-day voter registration, leading to repeated allegations from Trump and members of his administration that there was widespread fraud on Election Day — despite the fact the NH attorney general’s office says there have been just a handful of voter fraud cases since 2012. [PolitiFact NH / Ella Nilsen]
  • New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner also serves on the Trump election commission, which sparked controversy earlier this year when it asked for voter data including names, addresses, dates of birth, party registrations, partial Social Security numbers, and voting history. Many states refused to give up the data, but a federal judge recently ruled the commission could obtain it. [Reuters / Lawrence Hurley]

Miscellaneous

  • A 15th-century Voynich manuscript whose writing has stumped linguists and mathematicians for centuries may actually be a gynecological handbook. Chalk it up to lady problems. [The Times / David Sanderson]
  • After saying that scientists were hyping up the seriousness of Hurricane Irma as a scare tactic around global warming, conservative radio host and South Florida resident Rush Limbaugh is evacuating. [ThinkProgress / Abby Baird]
  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been criticized for her lack of experience with public schools and advocacy for school choice programs. But DeVos spent time as a volunteer mentor at a public school in her home state of Michigan, where she was still a controversial figure. [This American Life / Susan Burton]
  • American cities are trying to save their bat populations, which are suffering from a fungus-based disease called White Nose Syndrome. The first step for many cities is educating them about the winged creatures, which eat bugs and pollinate plants. [CityLab / Marla Donato]
  • The cash-strapped city of Hartford, Connecticut, could soon go bankrupt. It’s looking for relief from the state, which is in its own financial turmoil. [WSJ / Joseph De Avila]

Verbatim

  • My mind literally switched off. All I thought was, 'Eat, sleep, row, repeat'. That was until the nausea from sea sickness got so bad that I was then just sleeping and rowing in a zombie state.” [Geologist Sam Vye to Men’s Journal / Amanda McCracken]
  • “I think the current cycle has a lot to do with people hunkering down. A houseplant is therapeutic. It gives you something to nurture.” [Tovah Martin to the Washington Post / Lavanya Ramanathan]
  • “Despite having been born, raised and educated on British shores, it seems my mother tongue has been irreparably corrupted by the linguistic equivalent of the grey squirrel.” [BBC / Hephzibah Anderson]
  • “The founder mostly ate raw and vegan foods, and would sometimes scold non-vegan employees who ate yogurt or drank milk at team meetings, according to three former employees. He occasionally referred to dairy products as ‘cow puss,’ they say.” [Bloomberg / Olivia Zaleski, Ellen Huet, and Brad Stone]
  • “Given the ferocity of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in 2017, this will probably be the first and last time the names appear in tandem. The Schluters, by contrast, have been appearing in tandem since the 1940s, when Harvey was visiting his brother at a duplex in Spokane and ran into Irma, staying with her sister in the apartment below while she attended high school.” [NYT / Jonah Engel Bromwich]

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