Hackers stole a treasure trove of financial data from a top credit-reporting company, potentially exposing the personal information of roughly half the US population.
This leak is particularly worrisome because Equifax is a credit reporting service and tracks a history of your consumer life, credit cards, credit scores and more — and it gives the black market a potential gold mine of information about people’s financial lives.
The data is now available for download. This means your SIM card can be spoofed. This means someone will try to get into your email and online accounts. This means someone will try to open a credit card in your name.
Equifax reports that it discovered the leak on July 29th and took steps to stop the intrusion. It then hired a cybersecurity firm to determine the extent of the intrusion and what damage was done. The company reports that it has involved law enforcement, but it’s not clear at this point how the intruders entered the system or exactly what they took.
The company has set up a website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, for people to check if their data was leaked and to what extent. As is often the case after leaks like this, the company is offering a free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection, which you may want to take advantage of if your information was involved.