One of the biggest challenges any company faces in the digital age is ensuring data stored on their servers is safe and secure. With cybercrime on the rise, more companies should be making digital security their top priority but sadly, many companies do not realize how vital these measures are until their data has already been breached.
While any cyber attack can be devastating to companies, financial and credit services can be particularly devastating for not only the company but even more so for the customers they serve. In the latest cyber attack to hit a major U.S. corporation, the credit reporting service Equifax released a public statement indicating that they had been the victims of one of the largest data leaks in history.
Between May and July of 2017, information on more than 143 million people in the U.S. had their personal data compromised when hackers were able to infiltrate Equifax’s servers. This information included names, addresses, social security numbers, credit card numbers and even driver’s license numbers. Most alarming is that this information can be used to access even more sensitive information including medical histories, bank accounts, and even employee records.
This isn’t the first time Equifax has been targeted by malicious hackers. This announcement makes the third time the credit reporting agency’s servers have breached since 2015.
Gizmodo, one of the leading tech reporting blogs, blasted Equifax’s response to the security breach. Following their announcement of the leak, Equifax set up a suspicious looking website asking customers for their last names and last six digits of their social security numbers in order to determine if they had been affected by the attack. Security experts have been left shaking their heads at the company for requesting social security numbers in order to confirm if the company had been responsible for leaking that customer’s social security number.
The company also came under fire when it was discovered that several of the company’s top investors sold off $18 million worth of Equifax stock prior to the announcement. While it is not clear if these sales had been pre-arranged prior to the big announcement, it will likely become part of an investigation many U.S. lawmakers are calling for. Reuters reports that the FBI is currently tracking the situation.
U.S. Senator Mark Warner, vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said that it would not be an “exaggeration to suggest that a breach such as this represents a real threat to the economic security of Americans.”
Within 24-hours of the company’s statement on the attack, a class action lawsuit has already been filed on behalf of the millions of people impacted by the data leak.