Equifax Data Breach Was “Completely Preventable,” Congressional Report Says

A scathing new report reveals that one of the biggest data breaches in US history was “completely preventable.” A 14-month congressional investigation slammed the Equifax rating agency for lack of preventative action in a data breach that disclosed the personal information of 148 million Americans Last year.

According to the House report, hackers gained access to the Equifax network in May of last year and attacked the company for 76 days. Thieves have stolen sensitive information, including Social Security numbers, from nearly half of American adults and some lawmakers want Equifax to pay.

Kellie Kraus’ identity theft nightmare began just months after the Equifax breach. She discovered that 12 accounts had been opened in her name by people using her personal information to buy things like a car and even charge a vet bill of $ 868 for a pet she doesn’t own.

“I couldn’t understand how this could have happened as carefully as I am with my information,” Kraus said. “I imagined maybe I couldn’t get loans in the future, I had bad credit.”

Republican Congressman Will Hurd sits on the House Oversight Committee, which conducted the investigation.


Freezing your credit is the “best protection” …

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“This breach could have been avoided if Equifax had followed some very basic things about good digital system hygiene,” said Hurd.

The 96-page report says Equifax failed to modernize its technology, failed to patch its systems when vulnerabilities were detected, and stored sensitive data on outdated and substandard systems.

In a statement to CBS News, Equifax said: “During the few hours we were given to conduct a preliminary review [of the House report] we have identified material inaccuracies and disagree with many factual conclusions. You can find Equifax’s full statement at the bottom of this article.

But consumer advocates like Mike Litt of the US Public Interest Research Group have said the company should pay a price for harming customers.

“It’s really only when there are fines that we’re going to see the credit bureaus take our data security seriously,” Litt said.

Representative Hurd believes Congress should develop a national standard of violation and consider penalizing companies for not following basic guidelines.

The committee made several recommendations to prevent future incidents like Equifax’s, including reducing the use of social security numbers as personal identifiers.

To protect yourself, freeze your credit, have secure passwords, and make sure you shred sensitive documents.

Equifax’s full statement to CBS News:

“We are deeply disappointed that the Committee has chosen not to give us the time necessary to review and respond to a 100 page report containing very technical and important information.” During the few hours we were given to perform a preliminary review, we identified material inaccuracies. and disagree with many of the factual findings. Equifax worked in good faith for almost 15 months with the Committee to be transparent, cooperative and shed light on our lessons learned from the incident to enrich the cybersecurity community. While we believe that factual errors serve to undermine the content of the report, we generally support many of the recommendations the Committee made to government and the private sector to better protect consumers, and we have already done so. significant progress in many of these areas. Since the incident, Equifax has made progress, taking significant steps to improve our technology and security programs and will continue to focus on inconvenience customers, customers and regaining the trust of all stakeholders. “

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