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Hackers Target Equifax and Expose Over 100 Million Consumer Records

As unfortunate as it sounds, it seems that consumer data breaches may be the new standard of attack used by next-gen hackers and malicious computer users. This year has seen enough cases of its own, including widespread breaches stemming from InterContinental Hotels Group, Arby’s, River City Media, Saks Fifth Avenue, Verifone and more – the list is nearly endless. But the latest attack – which targeted the consumer credit agency Equifax – is one of the worst to date.

Over 100 Million Records Exposed

Although it might not be the largest data breach of its kind, the incident with Equifax is of a completely different scale. Since the company maintains comprehensive databases of consumer information, including full names, addresses, social security numbers, credit card numbers and even driver’s license numbers, hackers were able to access all of the information needed to steal an identity.

Some estimates suggest that over 143 million consumer records were stolen during the attack. The breach was originally discovered in mid-2017, and a third-party cybersecurity firm was immediately brought in to spearhead an investigation. No suspects have been named at the time of this writing.

A Global Incident

While some of the earlier breaches in 2017 were quite significant as well, especially to those who were directly affected by the incidents, most of those attacks were confined to the United States. This isn’t the case with the latest incident at Equifax, however. In addition to consumer records from the U.S., hackers also gained access to records across Canada and the United Kingdom.

If there is any good news, it’s the fact that Equifax’s core consumer and commercial credit reporting databases were left untouched. This ensures a full recovery by Equifax – though it might take some time to regain the trust of consumers.

Possible Warnings Ignored

An unnamed reporter in the IT security industry has recently stepped forward with a claim that Equifax was warned of a potential threat before the actual breach occurred. Per their report, some of the consumer information was available for access to anyone online – as long as you knew where to look.

The anonymous source put it in their own words by saying: ''“All you had to do was put in a search term and get millions of results, just instantly—in cleartext, through a web app. I've seen a lot of bad things, but not this bad.”''

Whether or not Equifax was warned remains to be seen, and it may be a moot point at this time. Now that the damage has been done, it’s important for Equifax to support those affect by the breach and restore their credit – and their identities – to their rightful owners.

Moving Forward After the Breach

Officials with Equifax have remained tight-lipped on the subject, but the investigation was recently completed. They have also established a website, {{|}}, for those who think they may have been affected by the breach.


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