From the Desk of Michael T. McCormick
The Equifax Data Breach and Steps to Stay Safe
Equifax discovered a data breach on July 29, 2017 through a flaw in a tool designed to build web applications called “Apache Struts”, which is used by many large businesses and government organizations. The company waited over a month to alert customers and Equifax has been widely criticized. As of September 15th, two senior security professionals, the Chief Security Officer, and the Chief Information Officer have been forced to retire. The data breach has affected 143 million customers.
Steps You Can Take Right Now:
1. Enroll and Sign up for the free Equifax Cybersecurity Incident program. Make sure you are on a protected network and a secure computer.
2. Check your Free Credit Report- Under Federal Law you are allowed to request a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
3. Put a fraud alert on your credit- You can put a fraud alert on your credit reports by contacting the three credit agencies.
4. Keep an eye on bank accounts and credit card statements.
5. Sign up for a credit monitoring or identity theft protection service.
6. As a last resort, you can put a freeze on your credit.
There is no expiration on how long your information can stay in the hands of identity thieves or stay on the dark web. Even if you haven’t been recently involved in a data breach, some of these steps can help protect you against identity theft.