By now everyone has heard about the massive Equifax data breach. Not only were 143 million people (half the US adult population) affected, but the credit giant knew about the breach for over 40 days before disclosing it. Although not as big as the Yahoo breach, it’s the largest breach of a financial institution ever.
With a major middle-finger to the public, during this window of time where Equifax kept the information to themselves, managers sold over $1.8 million in Equifax shares before the data breach became public information.
The Equifax Data Breach – Mob Shakedown
I always try to be cognizant of when a company is trying to put one over on its customers. Needless to say, I’m pretty peeved about the fact that Equifax is only offering to mitigate damage for compromised individuals if they wave their rights. That’s right, they’re offering a free year of credit protection using TrustedID Premier which has a provision that as a customer, you waive your rights to legal action against them or Equifax.
Although I’m not sure why anyone would trust Equifax’s own identity theft companies considering they’re the ones who got breached in the first place, I’m sure that Equifax’s ethics on the terms are nothing but garbage. In addition to that, it’s only free for a year. Data breaches like this can leave personal information floating around the dark web for years waiting for a buyer. Those of us affected will need to keep a close watch for many years to come. A single year of protection is an inadequate attempt at taking responsibility.
Luckily for us, the Attorney General is already looking into it:
— Eric Schneiderman (@AGSchneiderman)
How to Protect Yourself?
First of all, you must be vigilant about pulling your credit reports every year and looking for unauthorized activity. If you see something, take action before it gets out of hand. Choose a credit monitoring service out there not owned by Equifax. Consider signing up with a service such as Lifelock or Credit Karma instead.
Let’s face it, Equifax’s free offer comes at a hefty price. It’s likely that 1 free year of credit monitoring could cost you way more than it’s worth.
Sharif Jameel is a business owner, IT professional, runner, & musician. His professional certifications include CASP, Sec+, Net+, MCSA, & ITIL and others. He's also the guitar player for the Baltimore-based cover band, Liquifaction.