There's a good chance you've heard of Equifax, one of the three largest credit reporting agencies in the US, but did you know that they were hacked this summer? News of the hack, which occurred in July, broke this week. The hack compromises up to 143 million Americans' sensitive information, including Social Security and drivers license numbers.
The credit-reporting agency is one of three major firms, including TransUnion and Experian, that monitor the financial health of consumers and supply data to customers to help them decide wether to give or recieve a loan. The attack on Equifax is one of the largest risks to personal information in several years, and the third to hit Equifax since 2015. The company says that it discovered the attack on July 29, and has not seen any further threats since, but that one hack was enough to put millions of Americans' information at risk.
Interestingly, major players at Equifax sold their shares in the company on August 1, the day after they were made aware of the breach. The CFO and other top people sold over $1 million worth of stock in Equifax before news of the hack reached the public.
The Equifax hack is arguably scarier and more wide-reaching than other big data breaches over the past few years because so much sensitive information about customers, including Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, and drivers licenses were taken.
Here's how to see if you were affected by the hack, and how to keep yourself safe from future hacks. If you are an Equifax customer, you can go to http://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/ to see if your information is safe. Equifax is also offering a free year of credit protection service to people who register by November 21, whether you were affected by the hack or not. While there is no way to recover all the stolen information at this point, Equifax is working to ensure that similar hacks do not happen again.
With banking and credit cards moving online, do the risks of hacking outweigh the convenience banking technology offers?