The Equifax data breach in the US impacts 143 million people, nearly half of the American population (found to be 324 million as of 1 January 2017 by the US Census Bureau). Personal data, including the credit card numbers, home address, driving licence numbers and social security numbers of the majority of the adult population of the US, has been exposed in the hack, potentially leaving millions vulnerable to all manner of crimes including identity theft.
Equifax is a US credit monitoring company based in Atlanta, Georgia, which collects and aggregates information on over 800 million individual consumers and more than 88 million businesses worldwide. There have been concerning reports that the data of 400,000 UK customers is at risk following the hack.
Following the hack it took Equifax six weeks to notify the customers affected, a shocking delay. However, recent reports suggest they had initially been hacked five MONTHS before disclosing any hacking had occurred.
Whilst the breach affects an eye-watering number of people, what is even more startling is that this is far from the biggest data hack of all time. That ignominy belongs to Yahoo! which had 1 billion records exposed in August 2013.
A breach this size is a further warning of what lies ahead. No matter how big they are, companies that are not prepared will suffer the consequences. Following the Equifax data breach they joins the ever-expanding list of companies that have experienced a cyber hack and can only look back in hindsight at the measures they should have put in place to safeguard themselves. Don’t wait to see how this feels yourself! The time when organisations could pretend this doesn’t affect them is over – now they need to have relevant cyber security protocols in place.
How DCI Cyber Essentials can help
The first step to keeping your organisation safe from cyber attack is to be certified with DCI Cyber Essentials. Certification to the Government’s Cyber Essentials Scheme is a mandatory requirement for organisations wishing to win business with the MOD, and can help your organisation prepare and defend itself against malicious cyber attacks, regardless of the sector you operate in.