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Wondering What the Story is with the Equifax Hack?

September 13, 2017 • Cybersecurity

I’m sure you heard – Equifax was hacked. Now this is a VERY big deal for mortgage brokers, insurance salespeople, car dealerships – anyone who pulls credit regularly. But it might also be a big deal for you. You don’t even have to be a direct customer of Equifax to be a potential victim – they have your information if you have ever had your credit pulled.

Unfortunately, there is so much misinformation out there that it can be hard to figure out what actually happened, and if it actually affects you.

That’s where we want to help.

Some of the basic facts:

  • Equifax is one of the 3 big credit monitoring companies that track all of your financial transactions. So…they have a lot of important data. Social Security Numbers, driver’s license numbers, and even credit card numbers were stolen. The repercussions of this hack will be felt for years, and by a lot of people.
  • There were 143 million accounts exposed. That is almost half of the American adult population. But it seems like it is more than just Americans who were victims, despite initial reports. It is now clear that there are Canadian and British citizens affected as well.
  • A website was set up by Equifax to allow people to determine if they were one of the victims. Unfortunately, there have been a number of issues with that. First, it requires a Social Security Number, which means it is only accessible to Americans. Second, Equifax initially had you sign a Terms of Use clause that meant you were automatically opting out of potentially being part of the (most likely ensuing) class action lawsuit. Third, it appears as though the database of potential victims might not actually be at all accurate. Fourth, do you really want to hand your data over to a company who already potentially lost your data?
  • There have even been accusations of insider trading. (Honestly, this blog post could be a book – and I am sure it will be – this story is that complex and convoluted).
  • Want to hear the craziest part? There is a new allegation that Equifax in Argentina may have been using “admin” as both the username and password.

So what can you do?

Well, to be honest, if your data was stolen, not a lot. This information can be held for years, and if so, all protection you have against fraud is passed. This is the most devastating hack in our history.

With that being said, here are some things you can do.

  1. You need to have the proper security in your own business. This has the potential to completely destroy one of the most important companies in the world, and it seems like it may have been over the lack of a firewall. Make sure your business is more secure.
  2. You can “close” your credit access. It is annoying to open and close it every time you want to apply for credit, but it would theoretically prevent others from opening bank accounts or credit in your name, and leaving you on the hook for it.
  3. Change your passwords and monitor your credit statements. Don’t use “admin” for either.
  4. Speak to your representatives about ensuring that credit agencies like Equifax have stricter rules for guarding your information in the future.
  5. Live in a hut in the remote woods and never use credit for anything. Don’t get a phone. Use a tin can. Eat leaves and berries. Grow a beard. Fear everyone.

Sorry, readers. I don’t have a happy ending to this story. This is a big deal. All you can really do is protect the data you hold as much as possible, and keep checking here for updates on this story.

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