Just this summer, credit reporting agency Equifax was the victim of one of the most extensive and intrusive data breaches in history. Experts and lawmakers are questioning how many other multinational corporations may have insufficient protections around customer data. Now that such a trusted and tech-savvy company was unable to secure their customers’ most precious data, many are wondering whether smaller companies are at risk too. Read on to learn how to keep your sensitive information safe.
What Are The Facts?
On July 29, 2017, the international credit reporting agency Equifax uncovered a long-term malicious infiltration that had given hackers ongoing access to secure databases since the middle of May. Though the agency—along with other prominent credit bureaus like Experian and TransUnion—had documented malicious intrusions in the past, the most recent hack was by far the most troubling. Equifax estimated that hackers were able to access customers’ names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, driver’s license numbers, and even credit card information, creating a very real threat of identity theft. Since the files stolen in the breach were so comprehensive, they could allow dark web purchasers to impersonate Equifax customers online.
Equifax, one of the country’s main credit reporting agencies, is responsible for safeguarding the sensitive personal information of billions of Americans. According to Bloomberg, the attack may have compromised data from as many as 143 million of Equifax’s U.S. customers, along with a handful of clients from Canada and the U.K. Although the company’s shares dropped more than eight percent after the announcement, and have continued to falter in later months, it is unlikely that fallout will spur new federal regulations or large reform efforts within the credit industry.
Could It Happen Again?
In the wake of the incident, many cybersecurity experts expressed alarm that a prominent company would have such a cavalier attitude toward its data storage. A comprehensive data security protocol typically requires off-site information backups and periodic penetration testing, neither of which seem to be present in Equifax’s protection plans. After announcing the incident, Equifax set up a portal for customers to monitor the status of their data. You can check the free tool here to see if any of your personal information has been compromised.
In a recent hearing before Congress, Richard Smith, the CEO of Equifax, apologized for the incident and claimed that the breach had been traced to a single employee’s refusal to listen to security alerts and implement crucial software fixes. Though Smith has since been removed from his position at the head of the company, Equifax has not confirmed whether the employee in question was also fired.
Whether the Equifax data breach can be blamed on lax security practices or employee error, it is a glaring reminder of how easily your personal and business information can be stolen. Digital Uppercut specializes in protecting small businesses like yours from malicious attacks or employee incompetence. Our managed security services lock down your and your customers’ data and show you how to respond in case of a security emergency. To learn more, please contact our team of experts at 818-913-1335.