A forensic investigation led by Ernst & Young found instances of credit card theft at several USC Hospitality venues over at least a one-month period, according to an email from Dan Stimmler, associate senior vice president of auxiliary services. Credit card numbers were obtained because of a breach in third-party software that the university installed three years ago, Stimmler said to the Daily Trojan.Though credit card numbers were stolen, no personal information was compromised, the email said.The university received its first reported theft June 20 and contracted Ernst & Young the following day to gather more details, investigate who might be responsible and look into ways to prevent a future security breach, Stimmler said. According to the email, the investigation has found that the thefts began on May 21 — or possibly earlier — and ended June 21 after USC Auxiliary Services discovered the breach and shut down the system.The affected hospitality venues include the Ronald Tutor Campus Center, Seeds, The Lab and the Starbucks on the Health Sciences Campus.Celine Lam, a senior majoring in cinematic arts and a writer for the Daily Trojan, discovered her credit card number had been stolen when her bank emailed her early this morning to inform her that someone in Northern Florida had charged about $2 to her card. Lam, who saw signs Tuesday that said the credit card software at the campus center had been disabled, said the university should have told her of the situation earlier.“The notices up around the food areas only said the system was down, however. I personally would have liked to have been informed by USC as soon as possible if they’d been looking into this situation for over a week,” Lam said in an email.The email advised faculty, staff, students and visitors to check their credit card statements over the past few months and report any irregularities to their credit card company.“If you recently used your credit card at a USC dining facility, we recommend that you check carefully all credit card statements that you receive over the next several months, and as a precautionary measure, that you also check statements for the past several months for any unusual charges,” Stimmler said in the email.Stimmler said he does not have an exact number of how many individuals were affected by the thefts. But since the breach occurred after commencement, a time when many students and faculty are off campus, he expects the number to be smaller. Though the university is notifying impacted students, faculty and staff, university officials cannot contact everyone who was affected because of privacy issues.“We are unable to notify all potentially impacted individuals directly because the names of the credit card holders are known only to the banks that issued the credit cards,” Stimmler said in the email. “For privacy reasons, the issuing banks will not share names and contact information of the credit card holders.”The Department of Public Safety is investigating the incident independently, Stimmler said.No USCard information was compromised during the incident, the email said.Stimmler said that, for now, the university will continue to use the same software, but with new security standards. Stimmler also said that looking for a new long-term software partner is a possibility.
The USC men’s basketball team seems to feel right at home at the Galen Center.Floor general · Senior point guard Mike Gerrity played all 40 minutes of Saturday’s game against the Stanford Cardinal, contributing 11 points, two assists and a key block of a 3-point attempt late in the game. – Avi Kushlan | Daily Trojan The Trojans (14-9, 6-5) used some late-game heroics in front of an energized home crowd to hold off Stanford (10-13, 4-7) on Saturday, withstanding several rallies from the Cardinal en route to a 54-49 victory. The win avenges USC’s one-point loss to Stanford earlier in the season and moves USC into a five-way tie for second place in the Pac-10.Sophomore center Nikola Vucevic carried much of the Trojans’ offensive load, scoring 18 points and grabbing 14 rebounds, including a late tip-in that gave USC the lead for good. Redshirt senior guard Mike Gerrity added 11 points and sophomore forward Leonard Washington contributed nine points off the bench.But it was defense that ultimately gave the Trojans the advantage.“I couldn’t be more proud of our guys,” said USC coach Kevin O’Neill. “We really did a great job of executing defensively down the stretch. For us to hold them to 49 [points] and 30 [percent shooting] is really a heck of a job.”With the exception of Stanford guard Landry Fields — who had 27 points on 10-for-19 shooting — USC was able to largely snuff out the Cardinal attack, limiting all other players to six points or less. This was the seventh game this season that the Trojans — whose defense currently ranks second in the nation in points per game allowed — held their opponent to under 50 points.USC once again jumped to an early lead in the first half, going on a 9-2 run to start the game. But after trailing by as many as 14, the Cardinal stormed back by scoring 14 consecutive points, at one point leading 23-22. The game remained knotted for the rest of the first half, as USC was only able to take a one-point advantage into the break.In the second half, USC found its rhythm offensively, pulling out to an eight-point lead capped by a Washington dunk with 14 minutes left to play. But a 12-0 Stanford run, of which Fields scored nine, put the Cardinal back on top late in the game. USC responded with an 8-2 run of its own, but it was not until Vucevic — who couldn’t capitalize on a scoring chance at the end of the game in USC’s loss at Stanford earlier in the season — managed to convert a tip-in with 26 seconds left that was able to secure the victory.“[O’Neill] always gets on me about [the loss at Stanford], and he always tells me not to use one hand,” Vucevic said of his late-game score. “So this game, he told me to just crash the boards and use two hands and it worked out.”The Trojans remain one game out of first place, but they were able to jump into a tie for second because of Arizona and Arizona State losses. The loss moves Stanford into last place in the conference.“It says a lot about our guys, when you go down four like that, to just hang in,” O’Neill said. “We hung in there long enough to get the win and that’s all that really counts. For us, this ended up being a heck of a night.” read more
COMMENT FOLLOW US Last Updated: 31st December, 2019 13:11 IST Saints Eager To Tackle Tougher Road To Super Bowl For the second time since 2011, a Saints team coached by Sean Payton and quarterbacked by Drew Brees has finished a regular season 13-3, only to learn that was not good enough to secure a top-two playoff seed in the NFC and a first-round bye. Associated Press Television News First Published: 31st December, 2019 13:11 IST LIVE TV SUBSCRIBE TO US WATCH US LIVE Written By For the second time since 2011, a Saints team coached by Sean Payton and quarterbacked by Drew Brees has finished a regular season 13-3, only to learn that was not good enough to secure a top-two playoff seed in the NFC and a first-round bye.In both cases, remarkably, New Orleans was edged out by the same two franchises: Green Bay and San Francisco.The Saints’ 2011 postseason ended in the divisional round in San Francisco in one of the most thrilling and heartbreaking playoff contests New Orleans fans have endured. It had multiple late lead changes before the Niners drove for a winning score in the waning seconds.Now the Saints once again try to do something the franchise has never managed — advance to the Super Bowl by winning three NFC playoff games. They’ll open at home against Minnesota (10-6) on Sunday in the wild-card round.“Obviously other people kind of decided our fate as far as our seeding,” linebacker A.J. Klein said Monday, referring to the Saints needing either Green Bay or San Francisco to lose in Week 17 to earn a bye. “But I will say that we control our destiny.”As it turned out, moments after the Saints completed a 42-10 romp in Carolina on Sunday, Green Bay finished a comeback victory over Detroit with a last-second field goal. Later Sunday night, Seattle came excruciatingly close to beating the Niners when a Seahawks fourth-down pass was stopped an inch or so short of the goal line in the final seconds.“Obviously we would have liked Seattle to win, to give us a bye,” said Klein, who returned an interception for his first-career touchdown on Sunday. “This is just the way it’s written for us and it’s part of our journey this year.”Since the NFL went to a postseason format with six playoff teams in each conference in 1990 — with the top two division winners getting byes — 12 teams have advanced to the Super Bowl.The Saints sound confident they can be the 13th.“We finished the season strong and I know that this team is fired up and ready to go into these playoffs strong,” right tackle Ryan Ramzcyk said. “As far as playing our best football, I think there’s still a lot more to be had, but I think we are in a good position headed into the playoffs.”Payton, too, said his team was “excited” to play this Sunday. The coach also sounded pleased by his team’s balance of swagger and sense of urgency to identify and clean up potential weaknesses.“Overall the team kind of heads into this postseason with some confidence based on how we’ve been playing,” Payton said. “And yet I think they understand the type of tournament this is.”WHAT’S WORKINGThe passing game is about as efficient as it’s been all season. Brees has passed for nearly 1,200 yards and 15 TDs in his past four games and he’s not just relying on NFL leading receiver Michael Thomas. Tight end Jared Cook has looked more like the receiving threat the Saints expected and finished tied with Thomas for the team lead in touchdown receptions with nine. Tre’Quan Smith has become a more reliable target the longer he’s been back from an ankle injury that sidelined him five full games and parts of two others. He’s caught three touchdown passes in the past four games. Meanwhile, third-string QB Taysom Hill, a utility player known in New Orleans as the Saints’ “Swiss Army knife,” caught his sixth touchdown pass of the season in Week 17.WHAT NEEDS HELPThe Saints ended the season as the sixth-most penalized team in the NFL and their minus-323 net penalty yards ranked second worst.STOCK UPCornerback Janoris Jenkins intercepted a pass in the end zone in just his second game since being claimed off waivers by the Saints. Combined with his four interceptions while with the New York Giants, Jenkins finished with a career-high five picks this season. No other Saints player had more than four in 2019.STOCK DOWNReceiver Ted Ginn had one catch for 10 yards on Sunday, giving him 10 catches for 125 yards and one TD in his last eight games combined.INJUREDThe Saints played without three starters in the secondary in their regular season finale: cornerback Eli Apple (ankle) and safeties Vonn Bell (knee) and Marcus Williams (groin). Their status for the playoff opener remains uncertain.KEY NUMBER8 — Total turnovers committed by the Saints this season, an NFL record low for a season.NEXT STEPSThe Saints play the Vikings in the playoffs for the second time in three seasons. The last time, New Orleans lost on a 61-yard touchdown pass as time expired that became known as the Minneapolis Miracle. This time, the game is in the Superdome. read more