A huge data breach at this leading credit reference agency has put millions of people’s personal information in the hands of criminals.
In total, this mega cyber-attack has affected 144 million US customers and 400,000 British consumers! But try not to freak out. Here’s everything you need to know about the issue…
Who are Equifax?
Equifax is one of the top three credit reference agencies in the UK, alongside Experian and Callcredit. It’s a company that gathers and stores financial data, which other businesses use to assess your ability to borrow money. Basically, they’re the people that lenders go to when they want to conduct a credit check.
How did the cyber-attack happen?
Between May and July of this year, criminals were able to get their hands on tonnes of confidential data as Equifax’s website application wasn’t secured to the correct security standards. Equifax found out about the hacking on the 29th of July, and put a stop to it. However, by then it was too late.
Speaking about the incident, CEO Richard Smith has said it’s ‘the most humbling moment in our 118-year history’ and has vowed nothing like this will happen again. Indeed, the head of security and the head of IT at Equifax have since left the business.
What information did they get access to?
The hackers managed to get access to millions of US customers’ personal information, such as their name, address, date of birth, and even credit card numbers. Equifax confirmed that they also got access to ‘limited personal information’ of 400,000 UK consumers. Although a recent statement from Clearscore (who work in conjunction with Equifax) confirmed that ‘no UK financial data was compromised in this incident.’ Equifax also confirmed that the information stolen about UK consumers was limited to name, date of birth, email address and a telephone number.
How can I protect my online identity?
There are many things you can do to strengthen your online security. But here are our top three tips in light of this huge data breach.