Credit reporting company Equifax Inc blamed a web server vulnerability in its open-source software, called Apache Struts, for the recent data breach that compromised personal details of as many as 143 million US consumers. An attack on Equifax exposed information like social security numbers of almost 143 million Americans.
The Equifax data breach has left almost half the USA population's personal information at risk.
Equifax has set up a dedicated website and telephone number - 866-447-7559 - to check if you are among the hacked and sign up for free credit monitoring.
Equifax is one of the three major credit monitoring agencies, proving that even top companies are vulnerable, "Nobody is immune, every computer that connects to the internet is at risk in the cyber environment", said Dr. Duncan McGill, the Dean of the Ridge College of Intelligence Studies at Mercyhurst University.
Hackers in the Equifax data breach now have some of your most valuable personal information. Doing this earlier in tax season will make it less likely that someone else can file a fraudulent return in your name using your social security number.
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Mainers can call Equifax at 800-349-9960 to freeze your credit report, Leach said.
You should also enroll in fraud alerts with your bank or credit card company and you may consider putting a credit freeze in place. "That fraud alert, for 90 days, you'll be notified if anyone's trying to open up credit in your name and your Social", she told WBZ. A freeze restricts access to your credit report, making it almost impossible for someone to open a new account or line of credit in your name.
There are literally hundreds of smaller consumer-reporting companies operating in the USA and the smaller ones are collecting information you might not expect. You become THE CEO of your OWN IDENTITY. Everyone keeps asking me if they should put a freeze on their credit.
Equifax says on its website that the breach, which it discovered internally in late-July and announced to the public last week, was the result of hackers exploiting a vulnerability in a website application called Apache Struts. For Nebraska residents, other than minors and those who are victims of identity theft, a $3.00 charge may be applied for placing, temporarily lifting, or removing a security freeze.
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