Equifax Cyber Security Breach

Imagine if the world had superheroes. What if Batman was real? What if Spider Man really could be seen swinging throughout downtown New York City? For many, this is who comes to mind when they think of super heroes. But for others, the faces are much more kid-friendly–Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, Frozone. These heroes from the Pixar classic The Incredibles not only defeated wicked villains, but brought laughs and comedic family life scenes together as well. One of the more memorable scenes took place at the dinner table. Mr. Incredible is in his office reading while Elastigirl is keeping the two older children from strangling each other during dinner. She cries out “Bob, it’s time to intervene!” followed up with, “Don’t just stand there, do something!” One can’t help but relate this to family life, or perhaps even scenarios where the situation seems totally helpless. One such scenario is the Equifax cyber security breach that left hundred of millions of people at risk. Unfortunately, not only has this massive cyber security breach left many feeling vulnerable, but Equifax has done very little to make amends. Their attempted solutions have given zero comfort to potential victims, resulting in colossal consequences for the major credit bureau.

So Just How Much Intervention is Needed?

The Equifax cyber security breach, hailed as one of the three largest hacks ever, has affected as much as 143 million users. Americans are the primary victims of the giant data breach, but some Canadian and UK citizens have been exposed as well. Reports suggest that Equifax became aware of the hack on July 29th, though it likely occurred several weeks prior. By the time Equifax made its discovery, it was too late. The best they could do was hire a cyber security firm to come in and survey the extent of the damage. Once the leak became public earlier this week–Thursday to be exact–there was mass outrage, prompting millions to call Equifax to intervene.

So what exactly is Equifax proposing to do? First and foremost, the company has issued a public apology and offered its users the potential to discover if they’ve been affected or not. This is done through the Equifax cyber security breach website. The website allows users to enter their last name and the last six digits of their social security number to determine whether or not they’ve had their data stolen. The site offers advice in general terms, using general language to avoid giving a hard and fast conclusion like “Your personal information has been stolen” or “Your data is safe.” Second, Equifax is also offering free credit file monitoring and free identity theft protection to those who may–or may not–have been affected. The service, which usually costs a monthly fee, attempts to provide protection and peace of mind to the cybercrime victims.

What’s All the Fuss About?

Despite Equifax’s attempts at making things right, users are still fuming at the situation–and understandably so. A class action lawsuit has already been started, originating in Portland, Oregon. Bloomberg noted that three Equifax executives sold almost $1.8 million worth of shares after the hack was made known, but before it was released to the public. The report comments, “Regulatory filings show that on Aug. 1, Chief Financial Officer John Gamble sold shares worth $946,374 and Joseph Loughran, president of U.S. information solutions, exercised options to dispose of stock worth $584,099. Rodolfo Ploder, president of workforce solutions, sold $250,458 of stock on Aug. 2.” Many have called for the SEC to investigate these trades, suggesting foul play and insider trading.

In regards to the website created to deal with the Equifax cyber security breach used to alert customers if their data has been breached, some have pointed out the inconsistencies in the website, suggesting that the website randomly tells people that they may have been affected, even if the people are made up. Others have pointed out a class action lawsuit waiver clause in the fine print of the TrustedID terms; however, Equifax has since then issued a statement saying, “In response to consumer inquiries, we have made it clear that the arbitration clause and class action waiver included in the Equifax and TrustedID Premier terms of use does not apply to this cybersecurity incident.” Since Equifax’s interventions aren’t up to snuff, it’s up to users to take precautionary aims to ensure their identities are safe. This includes monitoring credit reports, double checking bank accounts frequently, and even contacting the major credit bureaus and requesting credit holds. Perhaps everyone needs superheroes after all.

Read more of the latest security topics from Tech Insight here.

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