Equifax pretty much sucks

Apparently one of the largest credit reporting companies in the world was the victim of a terrible data breach. They are publicly admitting to a couple of hundred thousand people being affected, but it will probably be more like millions when the dust settles. They managed to keep this a secret for the better part of a month, just enough time for their upper echelon of management to dump their stocks. Once the breach became public, Equifax then promptly showed the world exactly what not to do when faced with a problem of this magnitude and turned a security fiasco into a public relations fiasco as well. I have two things to say about this.

First, go freeze your credit reports. This took me about an hour to do both PezWitch and I, it also cost me a little bit of money, but it was not terrible. What this does is it stops the credit reporting companies from reporting your credit to anyone, including lenders. This means you will not be able to get a new credit card or a car loan until you unfreeze the reporting. This also stops criminals from trying to get credit cards in your name. Its does add a layer of complication to doing some things like opening checking accounts or renting an apartment, but it also provides you with an extra layer of protection. Here is the real problem with this breach. Part of the information that was leaked was Social Security Numbers, these number don’t change, so this information will be valid and usable until the day you are reported to be dead. This is not a short term thing, this is a rest of your life problem. So don’t wait, don’t put it off, just go do it now.

The second thing I have to say about this is it proves beyond doubt that most of these companies spend far too little money on securing your data. Seriously, how does one miss a hacker downloading a database, how does someone miss having terabytes, possibly petabytes of data being transferred to an IP address outside their network, worse this was going on from May through July, how do you miss someone guzzling down data for months? The answer to the question is simple, they really don’t give a shit. These companies need to get serious about this because otherwise it is going to get worse.

 

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