Equifax leaders blasted over handling of massive security breach

Equifax hack

The lawsuits were filed on behalf of consumers accusing Equifax of negligence, or willful misconduct, in failing to properly safeguard Social Security and driver's license numbers, birth dates, addresses and sometimes credit card data.

Companies struck by big data breaches usually bring in a small army of outside help long before notifying the public, including lawyers, public relations specialists and consultants adept at managing communications with regulators and law enforcement.

Equifax has been hit by breaches in the past. They are also offering one year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to all of those who have been affected by this hack. Never give out any of your personal information to someone who has contacted you "regarding the Equifax breach" (or any other breach or circumstance, for that matter). It also asks for the last six digits of a user's social security number and last name, the same information which may have already been compromised in the breach. "Free credit freezes for those affected". Forter did not respond to Retail Dive's request for more details.

A credit freeze makes it so that new loans and credit accounts can't be opened in that person's name.

"You need to take more action", one consumer wrote on Twitter to Equifax. If you want to protect yourself from fraudulent borrowing, freeze your three major credit reports (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). As part of its investigation of this application vulnerability, Equifax also identified unauthorised access to limited personal information for certain United Kingdom and Canadian residents.

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Equifax shares fell about 13 percent to $123.75 in heavy trading Friday, which equates to about $2.28 billion in lost market value. If someone else goes to take out a loan in your name, the lender will not be able to pull your report and therefore can not extend the credit.

The unauthorized access occurred between mid-May and July, but no suspicious activity has been found in the company's core credit-reporting databases, Chief Executive Officer Richard Smith said in a video on Equifax's website. "I can also use it to try to con somebody else". Consumers affected by this breach will be provided with additional ways to view and monitor their credit files without charge, and the state recommends that consumers do so.

Equifax's ham-handed response is reviving calls to weed out mandatory arbitration from the finance industry. Arbitration is slated to be barred in the financial industry next year by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, but Republicans have sought to reverse that ruling.

Inga Goddijn, executive vice president for Risk Based Security, which revealed the figures in its mid-year Data Breach QuickView report, said: "It is stunning to see the steady increase in the number of breaches impacting one million or more records". Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, in a statement.

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