Massive Equifax Breach Exposes Half of America’s Personal Data
A massive data breach at credit-reporting firm Equifax has exposed the personal data of around 143 million Americans — almost half the country’s population. However the company maintained hackers did not access its core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases.
You Had One Job
Considering Equifax’s main business is credit monitoring and ID theft protection, it’s an embarrassing situation.
It has set up a dedicated website for consumers to check if they are affected, and is offering further data-protection and credit checking services for free.
In a statement posted on its website, Equifax said hackers exploited a website application vulnerability to access data between May and July 2017. That data primarily included “names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers”. The company said it discovered the breach on 29th July
Additionally, the hackers obtained around 209,000 credit card numbers and dispute documents with personally-identifying information for 182,000 U.S. consumers. A “limited” number of people in the U.K. and Canada are also affected.
Most Consumers May Not Know Equifax Has Their Data
Equifax chairman and CEO Rick Smith said:
“This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do. I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes.”
“I’ve told our entire team that our goal can’t be simply to fix the problem and move on. Confronting cybersecurity risks is a daily fight,” he added. Smith also released a video statement to accompany the news:
As CNN reported, Equifax is one of three main U.S. credit reporting firms and stores detailed financial history on U.S. and other consumers. However, many may not even be aware of the company’s existence, or realize it holds their data.
The information it records includes credit cards, loans and loan payments — but also other data relevant to credit scores. This can include credit limits, child support payments, missed rent and utilities payments, even employment history.
Have you checked to see if you’re affected by the breach? Tell us about it in the comments.
Images via Equifax, ABC