Protecting your information online: Equifax Data Breach Exposes Information of Millions
MADISON, S.D.- It’s one of the biggest data breaches, cyber security experts say they have ever seen. An attack on Equifax exposed information like social security numbers of nearly 143 million Americans.
“I deeply regret this incident and I apologize to every affected consumer and all of our partners,” says Equifax Chairman and CEO, Rick Smith.
It’s a problem that no company wants to fall victim to. Credit monitoring agency Equifax says names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and even driver’s license numbers of about 143 million Americans were exposed in the breach they discovered July 29th. Dakota State University Cyber Operations professor Kyle Cronin says cyber-attacks are becoming more common.
“Attacks start out very small and then they escalate and in this case probably one of the largest breaches we have seen in the country,” says Cronin.
Cronin says with more people turning online to get things done, more hackers are watching for ways to access people’s information. Even scarier– it’s hard to predict when you’ll know you’re a victim. Typically, when data breaches happen hackers wait a while until they start making transactions with your information.
“It’s probably going to be something that will be in the long term. There’s probably not going to be an immediate thing that consumers are going to notice,” says Cronin.
In the wake of the data hack, experts say it’s important people use unique passwords and avoid using debit cards– instead– use credit cards, which are easier to track. Another long-term solution they suggest– put a credit freeze on your credit history.
“No one other than the list you have authorized is allowed to look at your credit report or open a new account in your name,” says Cronin.
Another piece of advice, with hackers becoming better at accessing information it’s important to check your bank transactions regularly for any unusual activity. Equifax has also created a website where you can check to see if your personal information may have been affected. That website is :https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/