Why the Equifax Breach is the Worst One Yet for Consumers

If you use the Internet, chances are you’ve had to change your password in the past for a few websites, at least, because ­­­of data breaches at Yahoo, Anthem, Target, and many others. That’s a hassle. But imagine if you had to spend years trying to convince credit card agencies, bank loan departments, the IRS, and other critical organizations that someone else is using your identity to rack up debt and steal your tax refunds.

This happens to people every day. But after the Equifax data breach, you’re bound to hear about it happening a lot more. And unlike the other breaches, this one creates a lifelong identity theft threat for everyone affected.

Data breaches have become a common occurrence, but until now they mostly involved passwords and usernames, maybe in some cases credit card numbers, and in rare cases birth dates and addresses. The hackers who stole the Equifax data got the motherlode for 143 million accounts. That’s about half of the entire US population. 

Think about it – that means there’s a 50% chance you were specifically affected, and a 100% chance someone you know was affected. Specifically, they nabbed full names, addresses, phone numbers, birth dates, credit card numbers, driver’s license numbers and social security numbers. This is everything someone needs to steal your identity and commit fraud on a massive scale.

Identity Theft is Costly

There’s a lot of damage that can be done with all that information. Fraudsters can get access to online bank accounts and make transfers. They can open up credit cards in your name. They can take out loans and default on payments. They can file fake tax returns and pocket the refund. Any of this can ruin your credit, and fixing a credit rating is a long, torturous and expensive (Read more...)

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