How Equifax failed miserably at handling its data breach

Jon Howard
September 12, 2017

"The procedures of disputing, you have to include certain what they call identifiers, and the identifiers are very personal information such as your Social Security card, your driver's license, your pay stub, bank statements and tax returns, utility bills, so a lot a lot of information", he said. On Monday, the company said it had backed away from that requirement. "Enrolling in the free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection that we are offering as part of this cybersecurity incident does not waive any rights to take legal action", it said.

Some lawsuits could also target sales by three Equifax executives of almost $1.8 million of stock within a few days of the breach's discovery.

If you're among the roughly 44 percent of the USA population who is potentially jeopardized by the Equifax breach, there's a significant chance you or someone in your family has had their personal data compromised.

Nearly $1.8 million in stock was sold by Joseph Loughran, chief of USA information solutions business, Rodolfo Ploder, head of the workforce solutions operations and John Gamble, Chief Financial Officer.

"This is major. Because it's a credit reporting agency", Zafar said.

Equifax actually figured out it had been hacked back in July, and apparently spent the time since setting up a site to respond to it and let people check if they are affected. "Because these credit agencies operate in the dark, they are allowed to be terribly unfair and unaccountable".

Equifax is hardly the first company to be hit hard by hackers: Target, Home Depot, and Yahoo! all within the past four years.

Then, request a copy of your credit report.

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Equifax shares fell about 13 percent to $123.75 in heavy trading Friday, which equates to about $2.28 billion in lost market value. Chief among the questions lawmakers and consumer regulators are raising is whether the credit-reporting bureaus are subject to enough oversight.

Equifax's stock has plunged 18% since the company's high-profile security breach.

Options traders are betting that Equifax's stock will drop further following last week's announcement of a security breach.

Since cybercriminals may have accessed what Ulzheimer calls the "crown jewels of information" at Equifax, he also suggests putting a long term freeze on your credit. The same banks that furnish much of the bureaus' credit data also use it to make lending decisions.

Equifax is offering consumers this program for free credit monitoring for a year. They are focusing on consumer's protection right now. The rules will apply to credit rating services such as Equifax.

Doug White, a cybersecurity professor at Roger Williams University, said that type of data could be used to develop more sophisticated phishing emails and scams.

Years from now, the Equifax breach may provide fodder to business school students about how not to bungle a response to a security failure.

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