A recent filing has revealed that there are even more victims in the infamous Equifax data hack of 2017. First Equifax, the credit monitoring company, revealed there were 143 million people affected, then it was 145 million, and now that number has climbed to 147 million people with compromised personal data. What’s another couple of million, right?
A large problem this incident brings to light is that the depth of severe data breaches take significant time to be fully realized – even a year after the fact. Your personal data in the wrong hands for any length of time would be a serious cause for concern, but can you imagine not knowing at all, or finding out after nearly a year?
The Compromised Data Included
The data in question includes everything from names, emails, and passwords to date of birth, credit cards, social security numbers, passports and driver’s license information. In addition to raw information, thousands of photos that had been uploaded to Equifax’s servers were also compromised which were largely related to pieces of photo ID.
Even though the hack happened a year ago (May 2017), the full impact of the hack is still being unravelled, revealing a long and dangerous time span between data theft and public awareness, not to mention action for the individual victims. Equifax confirmed that their internal investigation was “substantially completed” in 2017, but we now see that should not have been the case.
So, What Happened To The Data?
In short – no one is exactly sure yet. Equifax set up a website to help consumers determine if their information had been affected and to sign up for credit monitoring. This website was updated in March. While this data breach isn’t the largest of its kind, it is one of the most damaging due to the types of information compromised. Because of the personal nature of what the compromised data is – this is not like any other data breach. Many consumers are wondering what good credit monitoring will do in situations like this and demand more protection.
Effects Of The Fall Out
Today, Equifax has heightened operational expenses due to the breach and the spending is shifting toward IT and security. The cost of the data breach due to legal and investigative fees was huge – $114 million, however, $50 million of that was covered by insurance. In addition to these massive unpredicted expenses, CEO Richard Smith was ousted in an effort to clean up, upgrade and implement better security at Equifax. Ultimately an unpatched web was exploited by hackers despite patches being available.
Both of these effects, while expensive, bare none to the loss of consumer trust. It will be up to Equifax to demonstrate to consumers that even after this incident, they can still be trusted.
At Packetlabs, we believe that an “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It is easier to spend the time and resources preventing a mess, rather than cleaning it up. By thinking outside the box and applying a comprehensive testing methodology, our consultants uncover hard-to-find vulnerabilities including those often overlooked by our competitors. After all, your data is your most valuable asset – is that worthy of the finest protection available?