Sep 18, 2017
Equifax, a credit scoring firm, revealed on September 7 that the personal data of 143 million U.S. consumers was hacked.
Equifax and its two major competitors, Experian and TransUnion, create profit by collecting enormous amounts of personal information and selling this information to credit card companies, banks and marketers. These three firms together collected profits of nearly $1.5 billion last year.
Because of this security breach, thieves acquired nearly half the U.S. population's very sensitive information, including names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, former and current addresses and phone numbers, payment histories, and driver's license numbers – along with more than 200,000 sets of credit card numbers. By exploiting such critical information, these thieves can validate an identity, and open a bank or credit account using this false identification.
Equifax says that the security breach of this massive amount of data started in mid-May, around three and half months ago. They "discovered" the breach on July 29, around six weeks before they informed anyone, delaying countermeasures to protect against this breach.
Worse yet, the software vulnerability, which allowed the thieves to hack Equifax computers, was widely announced in March among cybersecurity professionals, together with clear and simple instructions on how to fix it, according to the Financial Times.
Equifax concealed this information to cover their own act, showing that they were more concerned with protecting themselves rather than us. For example, while they were delaying to inform us, three Equifax executives, including its chief financial officer, sold their shares in the company within a day after Equifax “discovered” the breach.
Equifax is currently offering a year of free credit monitoring. But, because we are exposed forever, we will need constant monitoring of our credit forever, and Equifax, and the two other credit scoring firms – Experian and TransUnion – are “offering” this constant credit monitoring service with a price tag of $20 per month!
So, this data leak about us is turning into yet another profit opportunity for these irresponsible schemers.
Is this what is meant by “land of opportunity?!”