Equifax data breach
It should be easy for a victim to shut down the card, get new credentials and avoid losing money when a credit card is stolen. The real problem emerges with data that cannot be changed. Such as Social Security numbers or personal information. That is what happened in the recent cyber-attack that hit Equifax. This kind of data are dangerous in the hands of a hacker, because they represent the whole digital self of a person.
“It’s very problematic for hackers to have all that important information all in one place,” says John Ulzheimer, a former Equifax credit expert. “This information is perpetually valuable. You are not going to change your name or date of birth or Social Security number. In five years they will be the same, unlike a credit card that takes five minutes to cancel over the phone.”
According to company’s statistics, 143 million Americans had their personal information stolen. Of course this number is scary. It represents almost half of the US population. Basically, these data will be used for years and consumers need to stay vigilant in order not to lose money or more information.
Clearly, the risk of financial crimes is higher than ever. With this huge amount of data, all consumers should check their bank account more frequently and report any suspicious activity immediately.
“This opens the door for total identity theft,” says Robb Reck, chief information security officer at Denver-based Ping Identity. The problem does not stop with money stealing but evolves. Actually, we can talk of a complete identity theft. Hackers can create a completely new person out of stolen data ( Cybersecurity guide ).
Nowadays, there is an unlimited number of operations that can be processed online. Hackers could use names and Social Security numbers to claim refunds or rent cars, get loans,… All of this win your name without you knowing. In order to prevent damage and bad situations like the Sweden hack companies started subscribing products like cyber insurance and similar…
While worries about a damaged credit score, hijacked credit cards or thieves opening fraudulent accounts are among the first things cyber-crime victims think of. There are a lot of ways hacker can harm people after a data breach becomes public. It is “far more challenging for consumers to detect and more costly and difficult to repair,” warns Steven Bearak, CEO of IdentityForce, a firm that offers identity, privacy and credit protection to consumers, businesses and government agencies.
Some examples include:
Medical ID theft
Synthetic ID theft
How can you protect yourself?
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