While this is still a developing story, the impact is massive. We have received some questions from our customers about it, so we are posting information and links to helpful resources from our Chief Information Security Officer.
Presently 40 States are investigating and Equifax execs have been called to testify before Congress so this is still a developing story.
Basically, Equifax was breached because they had not addressed a security vulnerability that had been present for quite some time in their environment (patch released in March; aware of Breach in May). We have heard many commentators refer to the fact that they had not addressed this known vulnerability as “severe negligence” on their part and that they had not done their “due diligence” to protect consumer information. The number of records that were stolen equates to nearly half the population of the United States. Equifax has setup a website where people can go to see if their information was part of what was stolen https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/
There are excellent FAQ’s and links to resources here: http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/11/pf/equifaxmyths/index.html
FTC recommendations: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/09/equifax-data-breach-what-do
Kentucky (info on freezing your credit) https://ag.ky.gov/family/consumerprotection/freeze/Pages/default.aspx
Putting a freeze on your credit reports is done as a method to deter criminals who have your personal information from being able to apply for and receive credit in your name. Generally speaking, when whomever you are applying for credit with sees that your reports are inaccessible, that usually ends the process.
Persons who are currently trying to get credit for something such as a car or home loan would want to be careful in deciding whether to freeze their credit reports as this may prevent them from being able to get the credit they are seeking, however freezing your credit does not negatively impact your credit score and to apply for credit you have to unfreeze it for that application process.