Credit monitoring site Equifax announced it was breached earlier this month, exposing 143 million U.S consumer’s personal data, the company says.
These 143 million people will now have to worry about their identities being stolen.
According to Equifax, the breach occurred between mid-May and July. Information stolen varied from Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, birth dates, and even addresses.
Equifax reports that as they did delay their initial reporting in the hacking incident to the general public, it is not unusual to do so as the investigators may have more time to pursue the offenders.
CBS reports that credit card information from approximately 209,000 consumers, in addition to 182,000 stolen documents related to credit reporting disputes, have been breached.
“This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do. I apologize to our customers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes,” Equifax CEO Richard Smith said.
Equifax reports that some customers from Britain and Canada have also had their information breached.
As for now, the company believes that these are the only countries affected by the breach.
“When breaches like this happen, consumers need to be diligent -- and not just short term,” said senior industry analyst with CreditCards.com, Matt Schulz. “Bad guys can be very patient, so it’s important to keep an eye out long after this story fades from the headlines.”
CBS reports that the FBI has launched an investigation into the breach.
Equifax encourages its customers to check their credit report site to view if their personal information has stolen.
Customers may also call 866-447-7559 for more information.
According to Bloomberg, this is not the first company’s hack. Earlier in March Equifax was hacked.
After the hack in March, the company believed that it had fixed its security by hiring security firm Mandiant in response to the cyberattack.
Both cyberattacks had “involved the same intruders,” Bloomberg reported with an unnamed source.
The source has claimed that the two attacks are not related.
New York Gov. Chris Cuomo pushed for new legislation that would “require credit reporting agencies to follow the state’s cybersecurity rules…”
Cuomo said that the regulations would take effect in February and if the credit reporting companies do not oblige, they will be barred from doing business within the state of New York.
However, a different story arises in Congress as representatives are pondering bills that would limit class action lawsuits against credit agemcies that violate the Fiar Credit Reporting Act.
After the breach, the company’s stocks dropped 1/3rd to $94.20, as more people pull out of the company.
On Sept. 15, Equifax announced its retirement of two information security executives.
The Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation into three Equifax executives who sold almost $2 million in shares from the company days after the breach.
According to Bloomberg, the DOJ is investigating whether or not the executives broke insider trading laws by this massive stock dumping.
What Is Credit?
According to Debt.com, credit is is used “to buy almost everything including food, clothing, housing and transporation.”
Credit scrores are determined by how well you pay back the money you owe to lenders such as credit cards, student loans and mortgages.
“Lenders use them to determine interest rates alongside credit limits,” Debt.com states.