In our age of information technology, data breaches are the most cunning form of thievery. One of the biggest data breaches in recent history was the Equifax data breach of 2017. Equifax is one of three big credit bureaus and retains very sensitive information about people, including social security numbers. It’s no wonder that the 145 million people that were affected by the breach were alarmed and reacted by closely monitoring or freezing their credit. Three years later, Equifax is still recovering from its loss of credibility through this breach.
Still, there remains the question, how did this breach happen? Did Equifax neglect to protect consumers’ data? Or was this an attack outside of their control? After years of investigation, the Justice Department recently came to the conclusion that members of China’s military are responsible for the cyberattack. And, they’re not just responsible for the Equifax attack. Members of China’s military are also responsible for taking 78 million records from health insurer, Anthem, in 2014. While it has turned out that Equifax was the victim in this instance, the attack did not come without massive repercussions in the company, including the resignation of Equifax’s CEO, Head of Cybersecurity, and Chief Information Officer.
All of this reminds us of the ongoing threat of cyberattacks that both consumers and employers need to stay keenly aware of. Like a guard dog watches vigilantly over the people and property that are his, we need to guard our data and the data of our employees. Be careful about the ways in which allow your sensitive data to be stored and transmitted. And, when choosing software to use, be sure to choose a software solution like Verifent that does not store social security numbers or big data files.