Equifax, one of the three major U.S. based credit reporting services just announced a major data breach where hackers have stolen sensitive information for 143 million American consumers 1. All consumers and businesses need to take actions to protect themselves.
Ways that the Equifax security breach WILL affect you:
- Personally – Your personal and family’s identity information is now at risk and will be targeted!
- Company – Your businesses could be affected and targeted.
- Nationally – Terrorist, Nation States and organized crime groups could be involved or use this data to commit cybercrime to obtain funds.
Protecting yourself is not complicated
Five recommendations to protect yourself immediately
- Subscribe to a credit monitoring service and/or lock your credit. The quickest way to be notified that you credit is compromised is through a credit monitoring service. Equifax has already started the process of setting up free credit monitoring for those involved. Other credit monitoring services are available and should be considered.
- Monitor all your financial accounts including credit cards and all bank accounts. Insure that all notifications are turned on. Make sure you are receiving immediate text and email notifications for any changes in your account or increased balances or transactions.
- Protect your bank and financial accounts, insure that two-factor authentication is turned on for all accounts. Learn about two factor authentication and turn it on for all financial accounts.
- Phishing email messages can be your biggest daily risk! Slow down when handling email messages. Stop automatically clicking on every email link and attachment you get. Instead of clicking on links and attachments in email messages, go independently to the sites outside of the email message. When you receive an email, you were not expecting from a name you recognize consider contacting the sender independently before you click on links or attachments.
- Strong passwords – consider changing all your passwords. Develop strong passwords and protect them. Use different passwords for your accounts.
3 Major Credit Bureaus:
800-685-1111 or 800-525-6285;
P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374;
Security Freeze: https://www.freeze.equifax.com/Freeze/jsp/SFF_PersonalIDInfo.jsp
Experian: 888-397-3742; www.experian.com
PO Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013;
Security Freeze: https://www.experian.com/ncaconline/freeze
TransUnion: 800-888-4213 or 800-680-7289; www.transunion.com
P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19022;
Security Freeze: https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze/place-credit-freeze
Other Security Considerations:
- Backup all computers and update operating systems and software regularly.
- Social Media Security – Sharing too much information on social media increases the risk you will be victimized. For example, telling the world, you are on vacation with pictures opens the risk your home will be burglarized.
- Secure your devices – Don’t leave your laptop, phone or tablet unattended even for a moment. Don’t leave anything in your car you don’t want stolen because it’s just a matter of time.
- Internet of things and device management – Understand how all your devices connect to the Internet and what information you are sharing. Check security setting for all devices including smart watches and fitness bands.
The value of security awareness training
This is another crime, where security awareness training can help to reduce risk. Being aware of new crimes and scams in the news is a fundamental part of security awareness training. Insuring that employees, family and friends are aware of this scam will greatly reduce the likelihood that you will be victimized.
Sharing new scams and crimes you hear about in the news with others, is important to ensure that the people you care about do not fall victim to these types of crimes.
The Center for Information Security Awareness, has been providing online and in-person security awareness training since 2007. The CFISA training stresses the importance of education and understanding the current risk and scams as an important way to protect yourself against these types of crimes.
Contact CFISA and we will help you with a training option to fit your budget! Request a quote here.
Security awareness training options can be found at the Center for Information Security Awareness – CFISA www.cfisa.org