Equi-hack: what happened, how they responded, what you can do
Last Thursday, credit-report company Equifax reported a security breach that exposed the data of 143m people — 44% of the US population.
This isn’t your run-of-the-mill email leak: between mid-May and July, the criminals accessed names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and license numbers. Not to mention, credit card numbers for 209k consumers.
To make matters worse, execs at Equifax were made aware of the hack as early as July 29th and failed to mention it until now.
And they’ve been pulling some pretty shady sh*t
Equifax is offering free credit monitoring for those affected by the breach (gee, thanks) and has set up a site to allow users to check if their data had been compromised. Unfortunately, the site is problematic for a few reasons:
You have to give the company who may have exposed your personal info more personal info (your SSN) to see if they exposed your personal info.
The site doesn’t even tell you definitively whether your info has been hacked — only that they “believe that your personal information may have been impacted.”
Equifax tells you you’ve been affected no matter what name you put in the form (ie. “Seymour Butts”).
There is a clause on the site stating anyone who enrolls also waives their rights to a class action lawsuit.
Equifax has since added a clause allowing people to opt out of the original clause, but you have to physically mail a written notice to the company.
And then there’s the matter of the stock…
Regulatory filings show that 3 Equifax execs — the CFO, US Information Solutions President, and Workforce Solutions president — dumped nearly $2m of company stock before the hack was publicly disclosed.
Equifax says that the execs “had no knowledge” of the leak at the time they sold their shares, but based on how they’ve handled the crisis, we don’t trust Equifax as far as we can throw them.
The worst part is, we never had a choice about giving them our info
Equifax is one of the 3 main credit bureaus in the US that provides credit reports, which you need to do pretty much any adult thing in the US: buy a car, rent an apartment, take out a student loan, etc.
And frustratingly, when other entities (like a landlord) run our credit, we don’t get to choose which bureau they use to do it.
The good news is, if you’re worried about your data, you can freeze your credit right now to block anyone from taking out new credit in your name. So at least there’s one thing we’re in control of.