Equifax Security Breach, What You Need to Know
A huge news story broke recently regarding Equifax, one of three major credit reporting agencies in the United States, and a data breach that may have impacted 143 million Americans and 400,000 UK citizens. News of the Equifax hack has absolutely rocked the financial services industry and security experts alike. Now that the dust has settled, we can take a closer look at what happened and what you can do to protect yourself in the aftermath.
According to multiple reports, hackers gained access to Equifax sometime between May and July of 2017 by exploiting weaknesses in Equifax’s website software. The breach exposed the names, birthdates, social security numbers, addresses, credit card numbers, and other personal information of numerous consumers. What is particularly worrisome about the Equifax hack is the sheer amount of personal information that was extracted.
To make matters worse, Equifax has been hacked not once but twice in the last two years! Security experts heavily criticized Equifax and their lack of security upgrades following the previous hacks. In the days following the news of the breach, BBC reported that an online employee tool in their Argentina based operations could be accessed using “admin” for both the login and password. Additionally, three Equifax executives sold shares worth $1.8 million immediately after the discovery of the breach.
Equifax is currently facing upwards of twenty class-action lawsuits and are under investigation by the FTC and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). As of Friday September 15, 2017, Equifax announced that the chief information officer and chief security officer would both be stepping down immediately.
While Equifax is currently taking steps to attempt to help consumers affected by the security breach, there is more that can and should be done. Here at BeeKash, we believe in peace-of-mind security and hope to help keep you safe with the following tips:
1. Get a free copy of your credit report from the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and Transunion) from annualcreditreport.com.
2. Monitor bank accounts, credit card charges, and other bills for irregularities frequently.
3. We highly suggest freezing your credit immediately. By putting a freeze on your credit, hackers and thieves that attempt to use your information to take out a loan or open new credit accounts in your name simply won’t be able to do so if your credit is frozen.
In order to freeze your credit, contact the credit reporting agencies directly: