The Equifax hack and how to protect your family — all explained in 5 minutes

In 1989, the US government decided to concentrate our most sensitive data in the hands of three giant finance corporations: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. These three corporations now store our biographic information, every address we’ve ever lived at, and every major financial transaction we’ve ever made — all so they can assign us a FICO credit score.

And one of these companies just got hacked.

On September 8, Equifax announced what is now the worst data breach in history. And yes — you are most likely a victim of it.

Here’s how this whole disaster unfolded.


A failure to patch

On March 7, the developers of Apache Struts — a Java web development framework popular with big finance companies — released a critical security patch.

For more than two months, Equifax failed to apply that patch.

Then in May, attackers discovered that Equifax was vulnerable. They started siphoning data out of Equifax’s massive databases.

For more than two months, attackers had full access to the records of 143 million Americans, 44 million Brits, and an unknown number of Canadians.

These records included:

  • First and last names
  • Social Security numbers
  • Birth dates
  • Current and past addresses
  • Drivers License numbers

In short: everything a thief would need to impersonate you, take all your money, and wreck your credit. For nearly 200 million people.

Read more of this article from FreeCodeCamp here.

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