How to protect your information after the Equifax hack

How to protect your information after the Equifax hack

How to protect your information after the Equifax hack

The company says the hack happened between May and July, and includes sensitive information like names, addresses, social security numbers, and in some cases even drivers license numbers. Their information is likely now at large, and being bought and sold on the cybercrime underground.

Canada's privacy commissioner on Tuesday asked credit bureau Equifax Inc to quickly implement a system for allowing Canadians to determine if their data was compromised in a massive cyber attack that the company disclosed last week.

Sure. When your credit is frozen you can continue to operate your financial life just as you typically would.

Following the hack, Equifax offered consumers one year of free credit monitoring to guard against identity theft.

Filing can also sometimes require paying a fee, although that payment can be waived in most states with proof of a legitimate identity theft threat, he added. That's not a pastime anyone would have ever signed up for.

"Three Equifax senior executives sold shares worth nearly $1.8 million in the days after the company discovered [the] breach", reported Bloomberg's Anders Melin.

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In other words, Equifax stands to profit from its blunder. "The team, working with Equifax Security personnel, devoted thousands of hours during the following weeks to investigate". It's helpful, but it is often after the fact.

Miller called the breach "astonishing" in a news release. Losing control over 143 million Social Security numbers, and their associated identity information, is far, far worse.

Perhaps most disturbing is the company's opaque statement that its investigation into the data breach "found no evidence of unauthorized activity on Equifax's core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases".

"Equifax is offering something that it says functions like a credit freeze", says Mike Litt, consumer program advocate with US Public Interest Research Group.

"Based on the information provided, we believe that your personal information may have been impacted by this incident", read the message on the website after receiving this information. "We are already in direct contact with Equifax to establish the facts including how many people in the United Kingdom have been affected and what kind of personal data may have been compromised". But it does serve as easy damage control for the publicly traded business. Those terms seemingly required arbitration of all disputes, and waiver of the ability to bring or participate in a class action lawsuit, such as those filed in Portland and Atlanta. Heartland, a credit card processing company, paid out over $110 million to credit card companies and individuals for a 2008 breach that exposed about 130 million credit and debit cards.

One potential wrinkle is that banks and some other financial services firms are considering ditching Equifax for its rivals, the Wall Street Journal reports. Data breaches can happen to any business. Nor is turning to Equifax's rivals an assured way to ensure that consumers' data is better protected. What's to stop the hackers from waiting a year or more to use the stolen information?

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