Hackers compromised parking payment app used at popular Houston destinations

Downtown Houston Streetscape
ParkMobile, a parking payment app available throughout Houston’s most popular destinations, was hacked in March, company leadership announced. (Courtesy Visit Houston).

ParkMobile, a parking payment app available throughout Houston’s most popular destinations, was hacked in March, company leadership announced. (Courtesy Visit Houston).

Following the hacking of parking payment app ParkMobile in March, company leadership announced the company has completed an investigation and no credit card information was accessed.

The Atlanta-based company serves hundreds of U.S. cities and operates under the name ParkHouston in Houston. According to an internal investigation, ParkHouston was among the providers that was hacked. ParkMobile issued an update about the hacking April 15 and an additional notification to users in an email message May 24.

ParkHouston serves parking spaces throughout the city including in Downtown, East Downtown, Washington Avenue and at major event venues such as Minute Maid Park, The Toyota Center, Revention Music Center, BBVA Stadium and NRG Stadium.

In the company investigation’s findings, no users’ credit card information or information about users’ parking history was accessed. The security breach gave hackers access to license plate numbers, email addresses and phone numbers as well as vehicle nicknames that some users add to profiles. A “small percentage” of users’ mailing addresses was also accessed, according to a statement from ParkMobile.

ParkMobile does not collect or store social security numbers or dates of birth, the company noted.


In response, the ParkMobile statement reminded users to use unique passwords for the app. Passwords can be changed in the app’s settings tab, the statement read. No passwords were accessed through the breach.

The hacking, which accessed a third-party software used by ParkMobile, exposed vulnerabilities in the app’s system.

“We quickly eliminated the third-party vulnerability, and we continue to maintain our security and monitor our systems,” the statement read. “Out of an abundance of caution, we also notified the appropriate law enforcement authorities.”

Other cities affected by the data breach include Columbus, Ohio; Louisville, Kentucky; Fort Worth, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina and New York, New York.

In an email to Community Impact Newspaper, a ParkMobile spokesperson confirmed over 20 million accounts were compromised nationwide although any account created after March 17, 2021 was no affected. ParkMobile is working with a cybersecurity firm to monitor the app's systems.
By Emma Whalen
Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered public health, education and features for several Austin-area publications. A Boston native, she is a former student athlete and alumna of The University of Texas at Austin.


MOST RECENT

freedmens town houston
Freedmen’s Town named Houston’s first ‘Heritage District’

“It's so important for us to do everything we can to hold on to as much of that history and not lose it because it defines in large part who we are as a city, we have lost a lot but we have not lost it all,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said.

The Prescription Pop—made with Rittenhouse rye whiskey, Bar Spoons Dr. Pepper syrup, cherry bitters and Angostura bitters—is one of several craft cocktails on the menu at the new Daisy Buchanan Lounge in Montrose. (Courtesy Daisy Buchanan Lounge)
1920s-inspired Daisy Buchanan Lounge to open June 19 in Montrose

The new venture will offer craft cocktails and late night eats, while a bar area will boast a one-of-a-kind antique bar and a baby grand piano.

Harris County Pets facilitates pet adoptions, foster placements and more. (Courtesy Harris County Pets)
Harris County Pets temporarily waives adoption fees to control increase of population

Harris County Pets has exceeded its capacity to house its growing pet population, officials said.

Americans spent 44% more shopping on websites, including Amazon, in 2020 than in 2019. (Courtesy Amazon)
Surge in online shopping strains Houston’s distribution channels

Online spending in the U.S. was up 44% from 2019 to 2020, and transportation expert Bill Eisele said this uptick has put a strain on the region’s transportation system.

According to county officials, 40% of the $125 billion in damage caused by Hurricane Harvey took place within Harris County. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas General Land Office says it is 'not feasible' to request $750M in federal flood aid within 30 days

Houston-area officials ask for 30-day-dealine on the Texas General Land Office's formal request for $750 million in federal flood aid funding, but GLO says it is not possible.

Texas Central has signed a $16 billion contract with Webuild to lead the civil construction team that will build the train. (Rendering courtesy Texas Central)
Texas Central signs $16B construction contract for high-speed rail project

Texas Central could be one step closer to starting construction.

Russ Poppe, the Harris County Flood Control District executive director, will officially step down July 2 after nearly fifteen years in the position. (Courtesy Harris County Flood Control District)
Executive Director Russ Poppe announces resignation from Harris County Flood Control District

Harris County Flood Control District Executive Director Russ Poppe announced his resignation June 11.

Robert Mock headshot
Houston names new emergency center director

The center manages 911 calls and other emergency communications.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas issued a call for Texans to conserve energy June 14. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
ERCOT asks Texans to conserve energy with generation outages 2.5 times higher than normal

"This is unusual for this early in the summer season," said Woody Rickerson, ERCOT vice president of grid planning and operations, in a news release.

League City's Helen Hall Library History Club hosted an event related to Juneteenth on June 7. The holiday honors Union Gen. Gordon Granger coming to Galveston in 1865 to announce the liberation of enslaved people in Texas. (Graphic by Justin Howell/Community Impact Newspaper)
Celebrate Juneteenth in Galveston with a movie screening, parade and more on June 17, 19

The Juneteenth Legacy Project, which aims to recontextualize the day and properly communicate its story and relevance, is hosting or advertising numerous events over the course of the holiday weekend.

Missouri City resident Jackie Ward became the chief nursing officer at Texas Children’s Hospital in January. (Photo by Michael Carr Photography, graphic by Chase Brooks/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Jackie Ward, Texas Children's Hospital chief nursing officer, discusses career, nursing during COVID-19

Prior to becoming chief nursing officer, Missouri City resident Jackie Ward worked as an oncology nurse and in a variety of leadership roles at Texas Children's Hospital.