Equifax Security Breach: Half of You Who Read This may be Involved

Unlocked lock over numbers on a computer screen.
Half of all Americans may have had their identity information, such as their social security numbers, compromised. Are you one of them? Read on to learn more. photo credit: Visual Content <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/1436015photo credit: Visual Content Data Security Breach via photopin (license)

The Federal Trade Commission has shared a link where you can verify if your security has been compromised in an Equifax breach. Equifax is a credit reporting agency. According to the commission, a settlement that was reached with Equifax and others “alleged that the credit reporting company’s failure to take reasonable steps to secure its network led to a data breach in 2017 that affected approximately 147 million people.”

Was your personal information compromised?

To learn if your information was compromised and is in danger of potential identify theft, conduct a search here.

The form requests some information to verify your identity.

What to do if your information is at risk

If your personal information was included in the breach, you have several options, including free credit monitoring by three agencies for six years, and an additional protection for four years from Equifax, totaling 10 years of protection. This service is normally $19.95 a month. It will notify you when someone uses your personal information for loans, credit, or large purchases.

If your information was included in the breach, file a claim here.

Additionally, if the security breach has caused you time or money, you may be entitled to some financial compensation, but they will request documentation.

How all Americans will benefit from this

In 2020, Equifax will provide up to six free credit reports a year for seven years for all Americans, according to the commission.

How did this happen?

In the settlement of Federal Trade Commission v. Equifax Inc, Apache Struts was part of Equifax’s database portal that stores the information for millions of Americans. In March of 2017, “the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team alerted [Equifax] to a new critical security vulnerability found in Apache Struts, an open source framework used to build Java web applications.”

According to the settlement, the Equifax employee who needed the information didn’t receive the email notification about the vulnerability. Though Equifax made efforts to locate the vulnerability, further mistakes were made, which led to their alleged failure to “notice or remediate the unpatched” database. This vulnerability allowed hackers to penetrate deep into the database.

Get your free, annual credit report from three agencies

Federal law provides that all American are eligible to receive one free credit report a year from each of the credit reporting agencies, which includes TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Request yours.

Learn about scams and security updates as they happen

To avoid future scams or receive updates on matters of security, subscribe to the commission’s newsletter.

 

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