On July 29, Equifax discovered a major leak of consumer data, after cyber criminals exploited a website weakness to gain access to sensitive files. Approximately 143 million US consumers may have been affected.
The stolen data contains names, Social Security numbers, addresses, birth dates, and even driver’s license numbers. About 209,000 consumers’ credit card numbers, and about 182,000 other sensitive documents, might also have been involved in the leak.
Equifax responded to the data theft immediately, hiring a leading cybersecurity firm to investigate. A forensic review will determine the specific data that was compromised. Equifax is also cooperating fully with law enforcement, and released the following statement:
“This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do. I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Richard F. Smith. “We pride ourselves on being a leader in managing and protecting data, and we are conducting a thorough review of our overall security operations. We also are focused on consumer protection and have developed a comprehensive portfolio of services to support all U.S. consumers, regardless of whether they were impacted by this incident.”
What you should do. As the investigation continues to identify consumers whose credit card information was involved in the leak, Equifax will notify them by mail. So, if you receive a letter, make sure to follow the instructions.
In the meantime, you can go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com to check on the status of your personal information. While there, you can sign up for credit file monitoring and identity theft protection. You can also call 866-447-7559 and speak to an Equifax representative if you’re concerned about your safety.
As always, remember that cyber security is a two-way street. While you can’t always control what might happen to your personal data when it is stored with other businesses, you can certainly protect your own customers. Give us a call at 888-RING-MY-TECH, so that we can double check your security protocol. As this Equifax leak proves, data theft can happen to anyone.