Hackers gain access to Oxnard utility system, make fraudulent purchases

The city of Oxnard alerted residents the last week of May about a security breach involving its online utility payment system, which allowed for several fraudulent purchases to be made on cards used in the system.

City officials say that they were alerted on May 25 by a banking institution when several of its customers experienced fraudulent charges after having used the Click2Gov online payment system. The city reported the issue to the Police Department, which then outsourced the investigation to a third-party electronic forensic firm that determined that a vulnerability in the software allowed access to the credit card processing system by unauthorized individuals.

Several days later, another vulnerability was found, and the city shut the system down so that new security measures could be implemented.

The city believes that only residents who used the system to make credit card purchases between May 26 and May 29 have been affected, with card numbers, expiration dates and customer names potentially stolen.

Customers should review account statements and report unauthorized charges to the card issuer.

All charges dropped against Ojai marijuana co-op director

The CEO of a long-embattled Oxnard medical marijuana delivery service is celebrating a decision by Ventura County prosecutors to drop all charges against her after nearly two years of legal battles.

Chelsea Sutula, president and CEO of Sespe Creek Collective, says that she shouldn’t have had to be celebrating in the first place.

“People assume, when you are arrested, that you must have done something wrong. I’ve done nothing wrong, actually,” said Sutula. “There’s a wide and very false perception that dispensary owners are rich. I invite these people to do a little homework on what it’s actually like to try to get a small business going in what is now the most heavily regulated industry in the U.S.”

Sutula had been charged with two felony counts of perjury, making false statements on a business license application, and transportation and sale of a controlled substance, which was reduced to a misdemeanor charge with the passage of Proposition 64.

“The drug war is sadly alive and well here in parts of Ventura County,” said Sutula. “My one night in jail pales in comparison to what low-level nonviolent offenders go through every day.”

VCStar relocates

The offices of the Ventura County Star located at 550 Camarillo Center Drive in Camarillo have been shuttered as of May 28, as the county’s daily paper relocates to a smaller location on East Daily Drive.

The move was preceded by an office furniture sale. In 2016, Virginia-based Gannett, parent company of USA Today, purchased the Ventura County Star after acquiring the Star’s parent company, Journal Media Group, which owns 14 other daily newspapers.

Triton Flight operations begin at Naval Base Port Hueneme

Look, in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s an MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system making its inaugural flight above Naval Base Port Hueneme, where Congresswoman Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village, was on hand to see it off.

Brownley, who was key in securing funds for the research and development of the Triton in Port Hueneme, said that doing so had been a “top priority” for her.

“When fully developed, this program will bring hundreds of jobs to Ventura County, bringing the added benefit of boosting our local economy,” said Brownley on Thursday, May 31, at a ceremony held on the base.

The Triton is the latest in the Navy’s unmanned aerial vehicle fleet, which will assist in maritime intelligence gathering, surveillance and reconnaissance, as well as aid in humanitarian and disaster relief across the globe.

Veterans gain greater access to care via VA expansion

Veterans enrolled in the Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System will now have access to urgent care as part of a Department of Veterans Affairs program expansion.

Veterans in need of urgent care must first gain authorization from a triage nurse by telephone before being referred to an urgent care center in their community. The VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System includes most of Los Angeles, Kern and some of Ventura Counties.

“Veterans in southern Ventura County, north Los Angeles County and northeastern Kern County can now participate in the new initiative,” said Ann Brown, system director. “We are proud to extend urgent care services in these regions.”

Veterans may be referred to the urgent care centers in dealing with minor infections and injuries. The partnership, says Brown, is meant to assist patients with after-hour and weekend urgent care needs.
Veterans must call the Veterans Integrated Service Network 22 Telephone Advice Nurse Call Line at 877-252-4866 for an evaluation prior to receiving treatment.