Equifax, a major consumer credit reporting agency, published a press release on September 7 notifying consumers of a major cybersecurity incident, or hack as some would call it, that could possibly affect a whopping 143 million consumers in the United States.
After the vulnerability was discovered on July 29, the magnitude of the beach was realized. The most prevalent information included social security numbers, addresses, and birth dates for consumers. While these pieces of information are some of the most compromising, other data was stolen as well, including a little over 200,000 credit card numbers for card holders in the United States.
While the data breach is largely limited to consumers in the United States at the moment, there is actually evidence of potential breaches affecting consumers in Canada and the United Kingdom. Whether these breaches over the border are as serious as the current incident remains to be seen. Aside from these three countries, there are no indications of breaches in other countries.
The magnitude of the breach could potentially be explained by its longevity. Equifax estimated that the vulnerability was prolonged from May to the end of July in 2017. The breach was not expanded on considerably, but Equifax dubbed it a “U.S. website application vulnerability” offering access to files.
At any rate, the incident isn’t generating any good press. Chairman and CEO of Equifax Richard Smith claimed the incident was “clearly a disappointing event for our company.”
In order to get everything sorted out, Equifax set up a special site to deal with any consumers affected by the incident. Consumers have the option to apply for identity theft and protection credit monitoring. In the meantime, developments are likely to be announced as more information streams in.
Author: Andrew Rombach
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