Personal information about tens of thousands of property owners in seven Arizona counties may have been viewed by a hacker last fall, according to the company that provides web access to property tax notices for owners who don’t want to receive mailed paper notices.
In December, The Master’s Touch LLC sent a letter to users of its eNoticesOnline service in Cochise, La Paz, Maricopa, Navajo, Pinal, Yavapai, and Yuma counties admitting that a data security breach by “an unknown individual” crashed the Spokane-based company’s system during an October malware attack.
There are more than 10,000 eNoticesOnline users throughout Cochise, Pinal, and Yuma counties. The number of statewide users impacted by the hacker’s attack isn’t known, but one county treasurer told the Arizona Daily Independent there could be “20,000 to 30,000 impacted users in Maricopa County alone.”
According to the company’s letter, the unidentified intruder was blocked and its server was quickly restored after the attack. A forced password change was also initiated for each eNoticesOnline account.
Then in November, the company was informed that a forensic review found no unauthorized removal of eNoticesOnline data files but “was unable to determine” if the hacker viewed the files. Users are urged to change passwords for any other website which utilized the same password used in October on their eNoticesOnline account.
Many counties began promoting “go paperless” services several years ago as a way to reduce printing and postage expenses. The eNoticesOnline service is particularly popular for part-time residents or out-of-state owners of Arizona property, as well as owners of multiple parcels.