This Huge Credit Rating Agency Just Got Hacked, and Your Data Might Be In Danger

This could affect more than 40 percent of the U.S. population.

 

hackerREDPIXELDOTPL/ShutterstockWhen it comes to the protection of your sensitive data, it seems like companies might just overdo it sometimes. Your password needs 10 to 13 characters with one uppercase letter, one number, and a punctuation mark. Your security questions range from inquiries about the name of your childhood pet (Fluffy McGillicuddy), to what your mother’s maiden name (Cambridge) is. 

The measures may seem ridiculous, but they are ultimately for your safety. But sadly no number of personal trivia questions can protect someone from an expert hacker, as evidenced by the enormous cyber breach which just happened to Equifax.creditRHONA WISE/EPA EFE /REX/Shutterstock

Equifax is a national credit bureau which “organizes, assimilates, and analyzes data on more than 820 million consumers and more than 91 million businesses worldwide, and its database includes employee data contributed from more than 7,100 employers.” Those numbers would be impressive if this story wasn’t about an enormous data breach, according to USA Today, up to 143 million Americans may have had their personal financial data exposed.

“When breaches like these happen, consumers need to be diligent—and not just in the short term,” says Matt Schulz, CreditCards.com’s senior industry analyst.  “Just because nothing looks amiss on your bank statements or your credit report now, that doesn’t mean you haven’t been compromised. Bad guys can be very patient, so it’s important to keep an eye out long after this story fades from the headlines.”

The data breach was initially detected on July 29th, and shortly afterward, three of the company’s top executives dumped large percentages of their stock in the company. From Thursday evening to Friday morning, Equifax’s stock saw a drop of over 20 points.

The primary data that was exposed during the breach includes birth dates, addresses, driver’s license numbers, and Social Security numbers. It’s also estimated that 209,000 consumers had their credit card information exposed through the cyber security attack.

So it’s not just four-word phone scams and FedEx envelopes that are exposing your personal information nowadays.

[Source: USA Today]

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