Hackers exploited a vulnerability in Equifax’s system of protection and leaked data of around half the population of the United States, exposing 143 million people’s private information.
Sensitive information that’s now on the Dark Web primarily includes names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, addresses and, in some cases, driver’s license numbers. In addition, credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers got spread.
This massive problem occurred to Equifax on July 29. The breach though didn’t get publicly disclosed until six weeks later which means the gap between the time when Equifax breach happened and the time when public was warned provided ample time for cyber criminals.
What is worse, it seems that bad security practice pervaded the Equifax organization as it was later revealed in Argentina staff used simple guessable passwords such as “admin” for both username and password.
What if this problem affects me?
There are several ways of protecting your personal and internet identity. Of course, you can’t blame yourself for this data being stolen. Even worse, you may not have even dealt with Equifax directly and still could be among victims of this massive identity breach.
1. Call Customer Support Center for support
If you have any uncertainties or hesitations, your primary step should be calling the Support Center that would guide through your further steps for minimizing the harm.
2. Take advantage of free credit monitoring
Equifax is offering credit monitoring to all people that have been involved and affected by the problem, for free. Taking advantage of this offer does not mean waiving your rights to sue the company.
3. Place a security freeze on your credit file
This action effectively blocks potential creditors from viewing your file unless you lift the freeze, thereby making it more difficult for bad actors to apply for credit in your name.
Law for security freeze vary by states, but the cost of the installation comes at 0-15 $. This step can be easily made via phone, email or online.
4. Trace your credit card activity
Simply ordering the copy of your credit report and contacting your credit card issuer will make you be a step ahead of your data being misused. Read and check every line and transaction. Thieves won’t jump into big purchases straight away, so pay attention to every unknown or strange activity.
5. Start using the SaferPass password manager to change all your passwords to unbreakable cyphers with generated characters
Even better news is you have a unique password for every website you log into and SaferPass automatically saves all passwords into one place. All you have to do is to remember your Master Password that will give you the access to all of the other ones (also via mobile application).
Did you use your email address as a username on other sites? That’s certainly a common practice. But if you also used the same password that you used for the hacked email account, those accounts are now compromised as well.
After you have recovered from an email account takeover, the best thing you could do at this point is visiting every site that’s associated with this account and changing the password. Saferpass will be a great help here!
Our advice for the future is to realize the great value of the service that password managers are offering. You don’t have to remember all of the complicated passwords but still, your account will be bulletproof! Great news, huh?