The Equifax hack exposed the personal information of over 143 million American credit-owners. Over 30% of Americans were put at risk for credit fraud, identity theft, and more. To make matters worse, Equifax was the victim of a prior hack but hid the attack from the public. Because of these events, lawmakers and computer scientists, is emphasizing the importance of powerful cybersecurity. Equifax low cybersecurity and outdated software are to blame.
In this technological age, large data breaches like Equifax are becoming more common. Nothing is un-hackable nowadays. The companies that stores millions of people’s data, are more likely to be targeted by hackers. Recently, after the Equifax hack, companies like LifeLock- an ID theft protection agency- saw the opportunity and has begun rolling out ads weeks after the Equifax hack. LifeLock’s anti-hack cybersecurity technology can be used for an individual account or can be used by massive companies. Millions of U.S citizens and companies are being urged to invest more money into their cybersecurity team or into having some equivalent to LifeLock’s infrastructure. Credit bureaus across the nation stated that they plan on investing into a stronger cybersecurity team. The reaction to this is split. While many are applauding the flock of people and corporations becoming more concerned about their cybersecurity, others are saying it’s too little too late.
Recently Wickert, president of Accuent Mortgage of Butler, conducted a case study to find the perfect way to protect your credit online. He claimed, “It was a hassle;” he had to apply through “7 different websites,” that contained his personal information and froze them through an online procedure by phone. This long tiring process can get longer if you wish to secure anyone in your intermediate family credit: like your wife, kids, or grandparents. Even though the process is long, he stated: “I’d rather prevent it from happening at all than learning about it and have to clean up the mess.” He’s right; identity theft is one of the worst situations financially you can get into. Most of the time, it takes years to fix your credit score after an identity theft has happened.
How Credit companies keep your information safe in comparison to Tech companies?
In tech companies, keeping your information safe is their main priority. The average Silicon Valley startup invest over 50 million into their software security. Even though tech companies can store a ton of personal information, people contemplate why startups invest more money into security than credit companies, even though credit companies data hacks could be more harmful, it still happens too often.
Sadly, there aren’t much credit companies can do. They store so much information through so many files that even the most secure servers is bound to leak. Unlike tech startups like Amazon or Twitter, people have to remember credit companies IT departments are made up of older and less-tech-savvy individuals. They only use the resources given to them via wholesale data servers. However you, the consumer, can do a list of procedures to ensure that your credit information is safe for the future and forward.
- Change your PIN number.
When you register for credit companies more than likely you’re asked to create a PIN, this PIN is the last identification process to enter your credit file. Most people’s PIN numbers are idiotically weak; American’s PIN numbers mostly comprise of their zip code followed by their date of birth. This makes hackers job 10x easier if the case is they have your other information, so change your PIN immediately.
- Enroll in Credit monitoring
Credit monitoring companies are worth the investment like stated before with Life Lock. They constantly watch over your credit for suspicious activity when you’re sleeping, traveling, or doing absolutely nothing. Most credit monitoring companies allow features like credit tracking and credit fraud alert.
Also, you might not want to enroll in credit monitoring since it gives up “your right to sue.” This is no longer the case since the recent Equifax hack.
- Educate yourself!
This is the last and most important part of protecting your credit. If you don’t know how credit -actually- works you’re in trouble. American’s education on Credit is awful; with more than 50% of Americans not knowing if their credit scores are good or not, even if they’re signed to a Credit bureau, makes them easy targets. Educating yourself in all cases on the recent Equifax hack can help you reduce your chances of falling victim to future hacks.