The Equifax (EFX) hack should have been prevented. Why did they leave themselves so vulnerable to the attack? Beyond the company, this hack may impact every one of us for the rest of our lives. We will now have to be aware and alert and have protection forever, and we did nothing wrong.
This hack also caused significant damage to the Equifax brand. Whether that damage can be undone is the question.
I have lots of questions for Equifax. Granted, part of the damage is they were attacked. However, this should have been expected and prepared for. Why did this happen? Perhaps they wanted to save money. Perhaps they didn’t think this could ever happen to them. Regardless, they had all our personal and private information in their files. That means they had a higher responsibility to better protect us from these kinds of threats.
So, much of the damage to us and to the company itself, was self-inflicted by Equifax. And this damage now causes a danger we will all have to live with for the rest of our lives.
Equifax Did Not Protect Themselves or Us from This Hack
First, a little perspective. The recent Equifax hack is big. Bigger than the 40 million customer Target (TGT) hack. Bigger than the 50 million customer Home Depot (HD) hack. Bigger than the 100 thousand customer DSW (DSW) hack.
I am hearing this hack may impact every person, every family and every business in the United States and beyond. Yes, according to reports, it’s that big. So, what did Equifax do wrong? They didn’t do enough to protect our privacy or their own interests.
Plus, they should have informed the public faster and better. Why did they take 5 weeks to notify us? In that five weeks, we could have been proactive and protected ourselves by freezing our credit profile. How much damage did we incur that we are not aware of yet?
It seems Equifax was more concerned with their own problems then protecting the vast numbers of people and companies they have records for. Why did they delay notifying us of the hack? This put us all in greater danger. This is inexcusable. Since the public was not aware of the hack, they did nothing to protect themselves.
This meant Equifax, which could have notified us immediately, and didn’t put every American at risk. And that risk will never go away. Ever. We will now have to protect ourselves every day for the rest of our lives because of this event.
Every hack is not the same. Example, with the Target, Home Depot, DSW and other corporate hacks, only their customers were impacted. That’s bad enough, but at least the customer choses to be part of their system. That choice, while still terrible, limited the damage to that smaller group.
Equifax is much worse. They keep records on every person and every business. That’s why this attack could impact every one of us. You see, we don’t choose to be Equifax customers. Well, that’s not entirely true. Equifax does offer services to consumers and businesses and those customers choose to be on their files.
I’m talking about the hundreds of millions of families and individuals, who do not do business with Equifax, but are still tracked and now impacted by this terrible hack.
Equifax, Experion and Transunion Should Be Held to Higher Standard
Equifax, along with every other credit reporting agency like Experion (EXPGY) and Transunion (TRU) keep records on every one of us. Detailed records. We do not choose to do business with them. They choose to accumulate data from a variety of sources, about us, and keep tabs on us whether we like it or not. They then sell access to this data to their corporate customers. That’s their business model.
The problem is, this puts every one of us at risk if they fail to maintain security. Which is what happened here. This means every one of us is affected by this hack. Every one of us relied upon their ability to protect our privacy. Equifax failed as hackers broke in and stole personal data on us all.
Leo Laporte The Tech Guy Radio Show Issues Equifax Warning
Now it seems Equifax is using this crisis as part of a marketing campaign. A way to get users to log on and see if they were impacted. Leo Laporte said during his Tech Guy radio show that when several attempts were made, they all said the same thing.
Equifax simply said to sign up for their service to monitor your history. They would not charge you for the first year. What happens after that year? That’s right, they send you a bill. So, what this means is Equifax is using this crisis as a marketing campaign.
Plus, to check your file, Equifax asks you to go to a certain web site and enter your personal information. Suddenly they expect users will trust them? Users are now fearful of Equifax, as they should be. The question is, why are they acting blind, deaf and dumb?
Credit reporting agencies like Equifax should be mandated to provide a higher level of security and protection because they have all this personal data. Equifax failed. What about Experion and Transunion? Are they any more prepared? Your guess is as good as mine. More to come.
Jeff Kagan is an Equities.com columnist. Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst, speaker and consultant. He follows wireless, wire line, telecom, Internet, cable TV, IPTV, Cloud, Mobile Pay, FinTech and communications technology. Email him at [email protected] His web site is www.jeffKAGAN.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeffkagan.