Equifax Leak Impacts Nearly Half of Americans
An estimated 143 million Americans may have had their Social Security numbers (SSNs) and other sensitive information stolen after a record-breakingly large breach at Equifax. The breach was discovered on July 29 and announced last week.
“This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do,” chairman and chief executive officer Richard F. Smith said in a press release. “I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes.”
Some 209,000 credit card numbers and personal information of 182,000 consumers were stolen in addition to the SSNs. It is thought to be the largest security breach this year, ahead of hacks at OneLogin and the Kansas voter registration system.
Equifax Aftermath, How to Protect Yourself
Equifax set up a website for consumers to find out if their personal information was potentially hacked and to set up future credit monitoring. The monitoring service lasts one year, so consumers should consider followup precautions.
“Check for notifications to see if new credit applications have been filed on your behalf, and monitor your accounts for adverse action,” Mark Testoni, president of SAP National Security Services, told Wired. “If your details are circulated on the black market, the big risks are fraudulent credit applications on your behalf and bad actors trying to find ways to take advantage of your personal [data].”
Some questions quickly arose, as consumers wondered if utilizing the site could waive any possibility for a future class action lawsuit. But Equifax has updated its site’s terms of service to assure this is not the case.
Equifax Stock Plummets, Lawsuits Ahead
Equifax stock plunged 18 percent since the hack was announced. And experts are expecting an additional 15 percent to 20 percent dip over the next five weeks.
It was also revealed that three senior executives at Equifax, including its CFO, sold nearly $2 million worth of stock days after the hack was discovered back in July. The company claims the executives had not yet been informed of the breach.
The three men are CFO John Gamble, president of U.S. information solutions Joseph Loughra, and president of workforce solutions Rodolfo Ploder. If evidence shows they knew of the breach, serious insider trading charges could be filed.
Equifax also faces a class-action lawsuit asking “fair compensation” for funds lost and other expenses consumers must take to ensure their finances are not affected.
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EQUIFAX | Rick Smith, Chairman and CEO of Equifax, on Cybersecurity Incident Involving Consumer Data
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