The Equifax Data Breach: One of the Biggest Ever

Late Thursday, news broke of a huge data breach which impacted Equifax, a credit-monitoring agency. Credit-monitoring agencies have loads of sensitive data about millions of people.

The vast majority of adults have some sort of credit score – whether it’s good, bad, or neutral. Lots of people from a variety of socioeconomic groups, at least at some point in their lives, acquire mortgages and car loans. Those who don’t will usually have at least one credit card in their lifetimes.

Agencies like Equifax use all of the data they gather on millions of people to help banks, credit card companies, telecommunications companies (think cellphone plans), and other types of lenders make decisions about whether or not an individual or organization is worth a certain credit risk.

Who is Affected by the Breach?

The data breached in the cyberattack on Equifax includes social security numbers, people’s names, birthdates, driver’s license numbers, home addresses, and some credit card numbers. If you’re American, there’s a very good chance that you are affected. Equifax says that about 143 million Americans had their data breached. According to a 2016 US Census estimate, the American population is about 323 million.

If you’re not American, you may still be a victim of Equifax’s data breach. Equifax says that some Canadians and Britons also had their personal information exposed, but the agency won’t disclose numbers at this time.

With regards to the affected Canadian and UK citizens, Equifax said:

“Equifax will work with UK and Canadian regulators to determine appropriate next steps. (We’ve) found no evidence that personal information of consumers in any other country has been impacted.”

Equifax discovered the breach on July 29, even though the news wasn’t made public till September 8. Upon discovery, Equifax hired a cybersecurity firm to conduct a (Read more...)

This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog post authored by Kim Crawley. Read the original post at: Cylance Blog