In 1 of the largest breaches of personal sensitive information, Equifax announced Thursday that hackers compromised data for 143 million American customers. To put that number into perspective, nearly half of all Americans are potentially affected.
Equifax is 1 of 3 major American consumer credit monitoring agencies. According to the company’s investigation outlined in their release, hackers exploited a weakness in their website software in May. This breach then went undetected until July.
The information accessed during this breach includes names, social security numbers, birthdates, and home addresses. In some cases, driver’s license numbers and credit card numbers (approximately 209,000 of them) were also accessed. Using this information, identity thieves can impersonate new customers with lenders, creditors, and service providers.
This is the third major cybersecurity threat since 2015 for the Atlanta based firm (whose website says “You’ll feel safer with Equifax.”). Last year, identity thieves accessed W-2 tax and salary data from the site, and earlier this year accessed similar information from an Equifax subsidiary. According to their website, Equifax handles data for over 820 million consumers and 91 million business worldwide.
Equifax created a website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, where you can check if your personal information has been impacted using 6 digits of your social security number. We have noticed that it may take a few website reloads to get the portal to appear.
Be aware, copycat phishing websites asking for full social security numbers and last names are being shared. A Twitter poll by user @notdan asked users to vote for what they believe is the safe Equifax link. The verified URL provided by Equifax is not listed.
SecureState will have further updates on this major issue as it develops.