Equifax is the largest consumer credit reporting agency in the United States and collects sensitive information on nearly a billion people worldwide. It’s a publicly traded company with annual revenue of over $3 billion and it has been in business for over a century.
With its experience and responsibility, it would be a sensible assumption that Equifax takes every measure possible to protect the data they hold.
And yet, this isn’t the case. As The Verge reported on September 7:
“Equifax announced today that 143 million US-based users had their personal information compromised this year. Attackers reportedly exploited a vulnerability on Equifax’s website to steal names, Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses, and, in some cases, driver’s license numbers. Credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 people and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 people were also accessed. Although Equifax operates in other countries, it didn’t detect any stolen personal information abroad.
The company says it discovered the breach on July 29th this year, and has since plugged the security hole. The company also set up a dedicated website — www.equifaxsecurity2017.com — for possible victims to sign up for credit file monitoring and identity theft protection.
Data breaches are fairly common, although those impacting Social Security and driver’s license numbers are rarer and more serious. The fact that Social Security numbers are included in the breach makes it likely that victims will be targeted for identity theft. Equifax says it’s working with both an independent cybersecurity firm and law enforcement to investigate.”
Yes, data breaches are fairly common, but they shouldn’t be. Many breaches start through failures in e mail security or best practices which allow access to corporate systems.
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