Equifax has lost over $4 Billion or about 25% of its market value as well as the CEO, CIO and Chief Security Officer, following the data breach announced in early September. Over 50 class action lawsuits have already been filed against the Company and there may be a congressional investigation into the breach. Consumers whose data was stolen will spend time and money ensuring that their financial data is secure. They will be spending sleepless nights worrying about the real risk of identity theft. Equifax provides a clear example of the enormous costs associated with a data breach.
Picking up the Pieces
It’s much easier to prevent a data breach than it is to recover from one. According to the Wall Street Journal, Equifax showed signs of an exposed security system in the months before the cyber-attack. The Company was slow to fix known security issues and there were weaknesses in its web-services security, application security and software patching. Source.
How much would it have cost Equifax to deal with its security shortfalls in real-time?
Your Data was Stolen Before the Equifax Fiasco
A majority of Americans (64%) had already experienced at least one type of data theft, before the Equifax breach was reported, according to Pew Research Center. If they ever used Yahoo mail, they could have been part of the Yahoo data breach, announced in 2016, that impacted an estimated 1 Billion user accounts. Perhaps they had their health insurance with Anthem, who reported in 2015 that as many as 80 million current and former customers had been impacted.
TransUnion and Experian Data has also Been Breached
TransUnion and Experian both suffered losses in their market value as a result of Equifax. And rightly so. They are also at risk of a data beach. But all three of the largest credit rating agencies share mostly the same data on US consumers. So, in effect, they’ve also been breached. 200 million Americans have credit scores. And 143 million Americans were impacted by the Equifax data breach. Source Your name, address, social security number, date of birth and possibly your driver’s license are quite likely to be among the information that was accessed by a third party in late July…six weeks before it was reported to the public.
What data do you have that is still safe? It’s the information that you have yet to send and receive. That includes contracts, statements, invoices and strategic data that you will be sending to your colleagues, clients, attorneys, insurance brokers or investment managers. It includes the medical records that you will forward to a new doctor. You can still ensure that this data stays private by encrypting your email messages in transit and at rest, once they reach the recipient.
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