ParkMobile Data Breach: How to Secure Your Information

If you have ever pulled your car into a mobile access parking spot, ParkMobile might have been the service provider. It’s the leading source of mobile parking solutions, available in more than 3,000 locations across North America.

Contactless parking has become popular, with drivers no longer needing to use a kiosk or drop coins into a meter. Instead, paying for a parking space is as easy as entering your name, license plate, and credit card information into a mobile app.

Unfortunately, a recent cybersecurity attack on ParkMobile threatened that data, and current users should change their passwords immediately.

ParkMobile is nationwide

ParkMobile is a mobile parking app that assists drivers in finding and paying for parking spaces. The service allows users to reserve spots and pay the associated fees from the convenience of their smartphones. As a result, accessing on-street and off-street parking has never been easier.

The popular service is available at airports, college campuses, parking lots, and stadiums throughout the country. The free downloadable app is available in Google Play and the App Store. A web version of the app is also available. 

The app is available in major U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Nashville, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. There are more than 450 participating cities.

In 2020, ParkMobile reached a record-breaking milestone of 20 million users. Established in 2008, the company reports it has “processed over 334,000,000 transactions totaling 57 billion minutes of parking time and over $1 billion of parking fees.” It’s one of the fastest-growing companies in the United States.

BMW bought the popular parking app in 2018, with plans to integrate the feature into all of its vehicles’ infotainment dashboards. With a minority stake in ParkMobile since 2014, the automaker became the first OEM to use a method of paying for parking in its in-car systems.

Then, in March 2021, EasyPark Group announced its intention to purchase ParkMobile. The European leader in parking technology stated, “The planned acquisition accelerates the global expansion of next-gen digital parking and mobility solutions.”

ParkMobile’s recent cybersecurity breach

ParkMobile recently announced it was the victim of a cybersecurity breach in March 2021, affecting more than 21 million users. The company’s security notification states that the breach affects users of the ParkMobile app and city/operator-branded white-label apps. Those apps include “Go Mobile PGH, Park Columbus, meterUp, MPLS Parking, Park Houston, ParkLouie, MKE Park, FW Park, Park It Charlotte, ParkNYC, 717 Parking, Park 915, and Premier Parking.”

The cybersecurity breach was a “vulnerability in a third-party software” used by the parking app company. In response to the attack, ParkMobile notified law enforcement and hired a “leading cybersecurity firm to address the incident.” As a result, the company quickly eliminated the threat and deemed all systems secure once again.

Investigators determined the hackers accessed basic information such as license plate numbers, vehicle nicknames, phone numbers, email addresses, and a small percentage of physical mailing addresses. 

ParkMobile announced that the criminals did not steal credit card information and specific parking transaction data. Personal information also wasn’t compromised.

How to protect your information from hackers

ParkMobile does not collect driver’s license numbers, social security numbers, or birth dates. In addition, encrypted passwords protected with “advanced hashing and salting technologies” prevented hackers from gaining access.

Patch, a newspaper in Greenwich, Connecticut, reported that “the main recommendation from the Town’s Chief Information Security Officer is for users to change their password.”

ParkMobile agrees, suggesting users update their passwords for an added level of security.

To make the change, go to the ParkMobile app or website and click on “Settings.” New passwords must be eight to 25 characters and include an uppercase or lowercase letter, at least one number, and a special character.

Visit the ParkMobile website for step-by-step instructions.

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