2017 has seen a worrying number of personal data breeches. The latest being the US credit checking company Equifax. The credit checking company claims that “criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files.”It’s estimated that hackers have stolen the personal data of 143 million in the US, 44 million in the UK, as well as data from other customers worldwide.
Equifax has data stored from over 91 million businesses worldwide, with an estimated 820 million customers worldwide having information stored with them. The information at risk includes the names, date of birth, addresses social security details and possibly drivers license information. It is also possible that the credit card details of around 200,000 customers may have been stolen.
Customers are unsure why it’s taken Equifax two months to discover the hacking, and it’s unclear how many customers have been affected. Chairman and CEO Richard Smith recently made a statement saying “This is clearly a disappointing event for our company and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do. I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes”.
Equifax aren’t the only high profile company to be a victim of hacking recently. Companies such as Deloitte, Yahoo, CEX, Verizon and the AA have all suffered serious data breeches this year with worrying amounts of customer information being stolen from their files. These breeches are causing an increasing level of concern amongst customers.
Last year Yahoo admitted it had suffered a serious data breech when it was hacked 3 years before. The account details of an estimated 3 billion users were accessed, and Yahoo has since admitted that all those account were accessed and data stolen by the hackers. In a statement on Yahoo’s website users were advised that “The investigation indicates that the user account information that was stolen did not include passwords in clear text, payment card data, or bank account information,”
The consultancy company Deloitte is another firm that’s customers information has been recently breeched. According to reports, Deloitte’s internal files were accessed through hackers which compromised customers’ details including their email addresses, usernames and passwords. The retailer CEX has also admitted that around 2 million customers’ details have recently been stolen in a recent cyber attack. These details included names, addresses, phone numbers and credit card information dating back to 2009.
The rise of personal data breaches in recent years is a cause for concern among individuals and companies. These breaches can have serious consequences for those affected including, fraud, financial losses and distress. It’s important that the level of security is adequate and companies improve measures to prevent data breaches and deal with existing breaches appropriately. Although the level of security is being improved, it’s clear that more needs to be done to ensure customers data and information is kept safe.