After the Equifax hack, the time to act is now…
With the Equifax data breach announcement last week sending people into a security frenzy, many took it upon themselves to visit Equifax’s data breach identifier site to find out if their information was compromised. At the time, this seemed like the smart move, because as we all know, being proactive with your security is a lot easier to manage than being reactive to a hacker using your identity in malicious manners.
Since the site went live, users received one of two messages: the first saying their information is estimated to have been impacted by the breach, while the second stated that Equifax believes that their information was not impacted by the breach. After some digging by the good people at TechCrunch, they’ve come to uncover that Equifax may simply be blowing smoke.
It seems that users entered names and numbers at random, and, for the most part, a majority received an alert that their information may have been impacted, meaning that Equifax really has no clue who or who isn’t affected by the breach.
So, if no one is sure who truly was affected, what does this mean?
This means that it’s time for you to stop relying on Equifax to protect your information and time for you to take it upon yourself to ensure that you don’t fall victim.
After Equifax: The Next Steps To Take
1. PLACE A “FREEZE” ON YOUR ACCOUNT
Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion are the three major credit reporting agencies. These agencies allow you to place “freezes” on your credit accounts to better ensure that your information is not compromised. A “freeze” is a hold that only YOU can remove when applying for a credit card, home loan, or car loan, which means that if a hacker were to attempt to use your information maliciously, they’d need access to the PIN number you are assigned to remove the “freeze” before moving forward.
2. CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS
This is a great time, if you haven’t done so already, to change your passwords for the various accounts that you may have signed up for over time. This means anything from your online bank accounts to your email accounts, the time is now to change the passwords assigned to each account. And when you create your new password, make sure to use a “passphrase” — something that is multiple words long and that contains special characters and numbers.
4. SIGN UP FOR EMAIL IDENTITY PROTECTION
Equifax has offered users the ability to enroll in their TrustID identity protection services free for a full year as some sort of tenuous recompense for not securing their databases well enough. This TrustID service is definitely a good start for users, but also comes with a price after your first year expires. Take some time to review the services also offered by TransUnion and Experian, as far as identity protection services go, as each come with different options.
5. USE SECURE EMAIL TO SEND PRIVATE INFO
The last thing you should make sure you do moving forward is to use a secure email solution when sending private information like social security & credit card numbers over email. Email scams and hacks have become some of the most easiest ways for hackers to steal your private information, so always make sure that when you’re sending confidential information online, use an encryption solution.
If you have any questions about what steps to take moving forward or about how NeoCertified can help meet your needs for secure email, feel free to give us a call at (877) 613-5036 or email us at Info@NeoCertified.com
Written by Peter J. Schaub