143 Million Americans could be affected

On September 7, 2017, Equifax announced that it had been hacked and as many as 143 million Americans could be effected by it. A giant cyber security breach compromised personal information; names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses and the number of some driver’s licenses. Equifax said the criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files. The breach occurred between mid-May and July, the company said it discovered the hack on July 29.

“This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do,”  Richard F. Smith, Equifax chairman and CEO

For their whole statement and other information visit https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/

According to The Apache Software Foundation:

“The Equifax data compromise was due to (Equifax’s) failure to install the security updates provided in a timely manner,”

The Apache Software Foundation are cyber security professionals who lend their free services to the project of open-source software — code that’s shared by major corporations and that’s tested and modified by developers working at hundreds of firms. They shared their discovery of the vulnerability on March 7, the same day the issue was patched. The breach occurred 2 months later, which leads some to believe the patches we never applied. Equifax has not commented on this.

What to do
Monitor your credit report.

You are entitled to one free credit report a year. Visit AnnualCreditReport.Com to get yours.

Monitor your credit and bank statements regularly.

You should check your accounts at least weekly and watch your mail for anything suspicious.

Check to see if you have been impacted.

Equifax is mailing notices to people whose credit cards or dispute documents were affected. Consumers can also check here to see if they’ve been affected.

Credit Freeze

cyber security lock

Consider putting a security freeze on all of your accounts. A credit freeze limits who can see your credit report information. While this is the most proactive step, if you plan to get a loan or line of credit in the near future, putting a freeze on your accounts will prevent anyone, even you, from opening any new credit in your name.

 

  • Stops anyone from using your information to open any new accounts.
  • It does not damage your credit or stop your credit report from evolving
  • Any accounts prior to the freeze are still accessible and usable.
  • You cannot open any new lines of credit until you lift the freeze.

To fully protect yourself, you must freeze your data at all three credit bureaus; Equifax, Experian & TransUnion.

  • Equifax: www.freeze.equifax.com or 1-800-349-9960 
  • Experian: www.experian.com/freeze or 1-888-397-3742
  • TransUnion: www.transunion.com/freeze or 1-888-909-8872

maine consumer credit protection

Maine is one of few states where it is FREE to do a credit freeze.  Maine freeze laws: http://www.maine.gov/pfr/consumercredit/file_freeze_info.htm

 

Sources for this article and more information:

  • http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/12/pf/what-is-a-credit-freeze/index.h
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  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aS6z0bEpVpM
  • http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/07/technology/business/equifax-data-breach/index.html?iid=EL
  • https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/security/here-s-what-you-can-do-about-equifax-data-breach-n800501
  • https://bobsullivan.net/cybercrime/the-equifax-faq-youve-got-questions-i-try-to-give-you-answers/
  • https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/09/14/equifax-identity-theft-hackers-apache-struts/665100001/
  • https://blogs.apache.org/foundation/entry/media-alert-the-apache-software