By now, you may have heard mention of the Equifax breach, where 146 million Americans – virtually half of our country’s population – had their social security numbers exposed. The hacking occurred between mid-May and July, and the information that was viewed also included 11 million driver’s licenses, and in some cases, credit card information.
You’re probably saying to yourself “How did an extremely trusted source for credit information become a victim of a cyberattack?” For those who work in the evolving industry of IT security, it’s unfortunately becoming more common to say that no one is completely safe.
One of the other reasons the Equifax breach is so puzzling is that it could have long-term implications on how your most confidential information is presented in the future. For example, what does the future of social security identification look like when nearly half of the U.S. has had their credit information exposed?
It’s anyone’s speculation as to how the identification of social security will present itself in the future. One thought is that identification procedures could include security chips that would be issued to you. Similar technology is used in credit card transactions (called
It’s also possible that submitting a copy of your driver’s license online may no longer be valid identification. Right now, some online retailers use this method for verifying purchases. If millions of driver’s licenses have been exposed, this can’t be a trusted form of online identification. New procedures may be put in place for how original documents are used versus photocopies.
If you’re worried about your security, you are not alone. The first thing to find out is if you have potentially been impacted. Equifax has partnered with a third-party service that will identify if you’re one of the victims. Simply follow this link, and you’ll need to provide your last name along with the last six digits of your social security number. If you have been affected, you’ll be invited to apply for a limited amount of credit monitoring to protect against fraud.
Technology isn’t designed to hinder accessibility: it’s here to aid in its authentication. Always do your best to keep private information private to avoid potential fraudulent activity. Remember, you are always your best advocate for your own protection. If you have concerns about online transactions, protecting important data, or increasing your level of security, we’re here to help.