Equifax Suffers Massive Data Breach Exposing 143 Million American’s Personal Information

Brian Erickson | September 12, 2017

While there are breaches and cyber attacks that happen virtually every day, there are some that could be considered to be worse than others. Of course, the magnitude of a breach can depend upon a couple different factors, such as the size of the breach itself, type of organization, and what kind of information was affected. Any data breach is a terrible occurrence, but severity can be put into perspective. If you have a breach where some email addresses are stolen, it is not ideal, but it would be nowhere near the detriment of a breach that resulted in theft of credit card numbers or Social Security numbers. Unfortunately, a recent massive breach of Equifax resulted in the latter two and more.

What Was Affected in the Breach

Equifax is one of the two massive and well known credit reporting companies. Yesterday, they had announced a breach that exposed sensitive personal information of 143 million Americans, as well as others in Canada and the UK. This included information like names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and some driver’s licenses. According to reports, around 209,000 U.S. customer credit card numbers were impacted, and the “personal identifying information” for about 182,000 in the U.S. According to Equifax, the breach had occurred between May and July, and they had discovered the hack in the end of June. Equifax has taken measures to assist individuals affected in the breach, as they will be mailing notices to those whose dispute records or credit numbers were affected. In addition, they set up a website where individuals can enter their last name and last six digits of their Social Security number to find out if their information was included in the breach. It is also serves as a way for them to enroll for identity protection and credit monitoring provided by Equifax. Although, this measure has had some speculation surrounding it because upon entering this data, it does not actually tell you whether your information was included in the breach. Rather, it simply enrolls you for the services mentioned above, and text within the terms and service agreement appear to waive an individual’s right to involvement in any class action lawsuit filed. If this is true, it is a somewhat underhanded method of Equifax trying to cover themselves.

This is one of the larger breaches that we have seen in the past few years. With the large amount of vital information affected in the breach, it places a massive amount of people at risk for fraud or identity theft. Plus, with Equifax being such a large credit monitoring service, many individuals are basically customers without even realizing they are. VIrtually anyone that has established a credit history in any way could have potentially had their information included in the breach. With the speculation surrounding Equifax’s website method, it may be a better idea to call and find out if your data was part of the incident. Although, people have seemed to have trouble with this method as well, as some have been disconnected from the line multiple times.

Protecting Data and Systems with Comprehensive Cyber Security

Various types of breaches continue to occur frequently, and organizations must ensure to fortify their cyber security to properly protect themselves. We store massive amounts of data through digital means and it can all be at risk when defenses are lacking in any way. The smallest hole or vulnerability can lead to breaches and cyber attacks successfully stealing data or damaging systems. Massive Alliance offers a number of cyber security services and tools to help organizations bolster themselves against the modern threat landscape.

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Avid documenter of all things risk. Passionate about protecting people, property, and performance (PPPP) against risks. Enjoys advanced technology-led resilience solutions which identify relevant threats, warn those affected, and prescribe what action to take.