Equifax reported yesterday that hackers had penetrated to their systems meaning that crucial information about their customers may have been compromised. The firm is among the biggest three consumer credit reporting agencies in the United States. It revealed that close to 143 million Americans had been compromised. As a result, the hackers may have important information about them that may include driver’s license numbers as well as social security numbers. This is the first major attack since 2015 for a company that has the information held by Equifax. Experts say that the company offers an ideal place for hackers especially those looking for identity theft. This institution offers a one place stop. Equifax is located in Atlanta, Georgia. World Privacy Forum executive director Pamela Dixon said that the situation is as bad as it looks. She warned people who might have a credit report telling them that they might be in this report. Security consultants and Equifax experts said that the breach was possible due to a weak point in the software used by the company. This happened between mid-May and July leading to these hackers acquiring certain files from the company. Equifax further stated that the issue was discovered on 29th July. At the moment, they have no evidence that the hackers may have gained unauthorized access.
Other than social security numbers and driver’s license numbers, other important materials that the hackers may have retrieved include addresses, birth dates, and names. Furthermore, they also said that they discovered close to 210,000 credit card numbers had been stolen. As for documents that contained personal information, Equifax reported that the hackers had accessed over 182,000 files. Compared to the 2016 attack of Yahoo, the Equifax attack not as big as the Yahoo attack. However, compared in terms of severity, the Equifax attack is more severe. A Gartner fraud analyst known as Avivah Litan said that the attack fell on a 10 rating on a scale of 1 to 10. The FBI announced that they were aware of the situation and they are tracking the breach. It has also been brought to light that salary data and W-2 files were stolen from the company’s website. The information was stolen from TALX which is a portal that takes care of issues related to human resource services, tax services as well as online payroll for the biggest corporations in the United States. However, Equifax has fallen to criticism from cyber security experts for doing little about their security.