Data Breach 2: Electric Boogaloo (or how I learned to stop worrying and love identity theft)
The Equifax breach is potentially the most damaging data breach of all time. Equifax is one of the three big credit reporting agencies, the other two being Experian and TransUnion. Their job is to maintain your credit history and decide what your credit score is. About half the population of the United States had data stolen which includes social security numbers, dates of birth, and driver license numbers. If your data was stolen, your identity will be vulnerable for years if not decades.
Now, you’re surely thinking, “With all the breaches lately, I’m sure everyone has all my information anyways.” People seem more than willing to be outraged (and entertained) by all the recent missteps being revealed, but view identity protection as an unwinnable fight.
Are we getting too used to data breaches? Is the sky falling yet again? The world is increasingly digital, and large companies building their IT security out of straw seems to be the new normal. We’ve seen a lot of big names in the headlines lately: Target, Chipotle, and Sony to name a few. Not even our Game of Throne scripts are safe (no spoilers, please).
Most of the largest data breaches have happened within the last five years or so. The largest data breach was Yahoo when three billion accounts were hacked in 2013. That’s billion with a “B.” I can only imagine the army of underground elves it took to search through them. Yahoo then had a breach of 500 million accounts in 2014.1 Progress, my friend, not perfection.
There’s sky on your shoulder…
Human error and poor decisions will continue to exist at companies that have your data. The resigned CEO of Equifax testified recently that a single person had failed to implement a security patch.2 Identity protection will have to become a modern skill that we all need to learn. Seek advice on what you can do to protect yourself starting with the Federal Trade Commission.
We have a product that can help too. Members of the Denver Community who are signed up with ID Safe Choice can have stolen identities recovered for them by a Professional Recovery Advocate. This service can also be extended to family members. The service costs $1.96 a month*. Other protection services are available on the market, although may cost more on a monthly basis. Choose the right service for you and don’t give up!