Equifax, one of the three credit monitoring bureaus, reported a Category 5 data breach on Sept. 7. Equifax is one of three credit bureau responsible for collecting information and maintaining credit information that is made available to lenders, consumers and companies. The three credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and the TransUnion, have information about everyone in the United States, whether they use credit or not.
Equifax has been under media scrutiny for failing to make the attack known to the consumer until three months later and the way they conducted themselves afterward. This breach had occurred between Mid-May or June. However, Equifax found the data breach in late-July and released the information to the public Sept. 7.
To add insult to injury, three Equifax senior executives sold their $1.8 million worth of shares before the breach was made known to the public. Equifax claims that the executives had no idea about the breach. The three executives only sold a small portion of their large share. The action of selling shares after the data breach has left a sour taste in the mouths of consumers.
Equifax continued to react poorly to the situation when setting up a website to help victims recover. Initially, to receive Trusted ID with Equifax, a person would agree to forfeit his/her right to sue the company. This was immediately removed due to the amount of backlash from the media. Equifax then created a website for consumers to see if they were affected by the data breach. In order to test their network security, a phishing site was created to fool consumers. Not only did Equifax fail to report the phishing site, which was a verified Twitter account, it linked to the fake account three times
Equifax did manage to retrieve a fairly accurate number of those affected in an exceptional way.
“The one thing Equifax did do correctly was to hire a third-party company to investigate the breach, this resulted in a discovery of another 2.5 million consumers information hacked, bringing the total to 145.5 million records breached,” said Jimmy Scruggs, Rose State professor of network security and network administration in the Business Information Technology division.
Although this massive breach left many people dismayed, some people found humor in the situation. During the Equifax Congressional hearing on Oct. 4, a famous icon made an appearance. Amanda Werner, a member of Americans for Financial Reform and Public Citizen, attended dressed as the Monopoly Man to protest against the precedent of corporate mismanagement in large companies. Her antics included stroking her mustache, wiping her non-existent sweat off her brow with Monopoly Money, and passing out 'Get out Of Jail Free' cards.
As Equifax Congressional hearings continue, many consumers are wondering whether this is last they will hear about Equifax mismanagement. Others are contemplating whether Equifax has a future at all. Whatever the case may be, Equifax still has a long way to go before regaining the trust of the American people.
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