On September 7th, one of the largest security breaches ever recorded in the United States came to light. Equifax, a major credit reporting company, revealed that attackers were able to exploit a weakness on their website to access records for 143 million Americans. Anyone who currently has a credit card, mortgage, car loan or any other credit is likely affected. As a reference, the United States population is about 323 million. So, approximately 44 percent of the population has had their records breached. As there are 125 million households in the US, this means that at least one person in every family has had their information stolen.
Equifax is one of the oldest of three major US credit bureaus and maintains information on over 800 million people for credit and insurance reports. Beyond just your Social Security Number (SSN), everything that is needed for complete identity theft was stolen, including birthdate, home address, employer, family relationships, and, in some cases, even driver’s license numbers.
What do you do now?
Here is an article that describes the breach and offers suggestions.
Equifax has set up a website (https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/) offering free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to all US residents free for one year.
Krebs on Security, a highly respected security blog, has a more detailed article on steps you can take to protect yourself from identity theft through a credit freeze.
Clark.com offers another article that could assist you if you choose to do a credit freeze.
Pomona ITS has also setup a helpful website on these topics. Information on how to protect yourself online can be found here under the heading "Protecting Yourself and Your Device".
You can expect an increased number of highly personalized fraudulent (phishing) emails, phone calls, or even text messages as thieves attempt to use this data to trick you into falling for their schemes.
In this modern age, digital security is becoming critical responsibility for everyone. We hope that you find these resources helpful.
For more information or if you have questions, please contact the Pomona ITS Service desk at (909) 621-8061 or send us an email at ServiceDesk@pomona.edu.