A major credit reporting company’s data breach puts millions at risk

Sophie Misterek, Layout Assistant

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Identity theft is now a serious threat for over 143 million Americans. A recent security breach of Equifax exposed names, social security numbers, personal information, credit card numbers and even driver’s license numbers.

Equifax is one of three national credit reporting companies. It collects credit data from banks, credit card companies, as well as others. It then creates a credit report, which banks use to check if a customer would be a good recipient for a loan.

Usually, customers of Equifax do not even realize they are a customer of Equifax, as the company never contacts the customer directly to learn their spending history. This makes it even easier for scammers to take advantage of the information they have gained.

Equifax’s customer service lines have been jammed with people attempting to figure out what they can do to prevent themselves from falling victim to theft. There have been complaints of representatives that have been left in the dark about what they need to do.

“I think that they were not treated as customers should be, as a priority for Equifax,” said Will Nassif, teacher.

Luckily, Equifax has revoked their practice of mandatory arbitration. Arbitration is when both parties agree to a third-party arbitrator to resolve a dispute without going to court. This requirement left many people confused about their right to sue the company. Now, Equifax already has lawsuits from several law firms on its hands.

Furthermore, some of Equifax’s company executives are under fire for selling shares of the company worth 1.8 million just days after the breach. The question many people are asking is if the company knew about the hack earlier than they let on, and used the opportunity to make some money.

Equifax announced on Friday, Sept. 15 that their chief security officer, Susan Mauldin, and chief information officer, David Webb, are retiring.

No one knows yet who holds the personal information stolen from Equifax. The hackers were able to access Equifax’s records through a fault in one of the tools used to build web applications, called Apache Struts. Equifax employed Apache Struts in the customer service area.

“I don’t think that [students at Athens Drive] should be concerned with an Equifax event, I just think they should be mindful about the information that they give out [on the Internet],” says Nassif.

Both state and federal authorities are currently investigating this situation.

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A major credit reporting company’s data breach puts millions at risk