Equifax's Massive Data Breach Focuses Attention on Symantec's LifeLock

Marcus Newton
September 12, 2017

A few days ago, a major hack happened at the credit reporting agency Equifax, which is one of the three major clearinghouses for Americans' credit histories.

Equifax revealed Friday that their systems were hit with a cyberattack between May and July, affecting 143 million people.

Intruders accessed names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver's license numbers, Equifax said in a statement.

Equifax (EFX) shares were lower 13% ahead of Friday's open after the company disclosed late Thursday a cybersecurity incident potentially impacting about 143 million US consumers, in which criminals exploited a USA website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files.

Equifax is a credit checking agency.

There was a catch: the supposedly free service required credit card information up front and would begin charging the card after the free trial ended unless users proactively canceled, according to terms of use for the product dated September 6.

Fortunately, there are defensive steps you can take. Here are the links to freeze your credit at Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

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To enroll, go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com and click on the Check Potential Impact tab. That's because, as one of three nationwide credit-reporting agencies, Equifax gets its data from credit card companies, banks, retailers and lenders - often without consumers knowing it. That restricts access to your credit information, which makes it more hard for hackers to open accounts in your name. "This will prevent anyone but you from accessing them, thus making it impossible to take out a loan or line of credit". The amount of the charge depends on where you live.

"There will be an avalanche of consumer cases", said Yanchunis, who also leads litigation in California against Yahoo over hackings affecting more than 1 billion users, though involving less sensitive data. To unlock credit, a person is given a PIN. (ANTM - Free Report) and Sony Corporation (SNE - Free Report) have also been victims of cyber attack, when fraudsters stole large number of consumer data.

With a security breach of this magnitude, it is easy to imagine the difficulties organizations will face in mobilizing an incident response plan in time to meet the 72-hour notice under GDPR. A spokeswoman for Equifax said the men "had no knowledge that an intrusion had occurred at the time".

The chairmen of at least two U.S. House committees say they want to hold hearings.

Meanwhile, Equifax Inc. dropped 3.4% to $119.20 on Monday morning, following a almost 14% plunge as news of the massive data breach sparked widespread concerns about the security of customers' sensitive data.

Several state attorneys general have also said they would investigate, including those from New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Days later, three senior managers including Chief Financial Officer John Gamble sold stock worth nearly $1.8 million.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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