Update on Equifax Data Breach…Could It Have Been Avoided Altogether?
An email was recently sent to people affected by the Equifax data breach with the subject line, “Equifax Breach Settlement (Credit Monitoring Instructions and Activation Code).”
As you recall, in September of 2017, Equifax announced a massive data breach had occurred, exposing the personal data of roughly 147 million people. Names, social security numbers, addresses, birth dates, credit card numbers, drivers’ license numbers and other personally identifiable information (PII) were now in the hands of cyber criminals.
Because of this one breach, it’s believed frauds related to identity theft may have skyrocketed. In 2020 alone, just two and a half years after the Equifax breach, the cost of identity theft reached a record $57 billion…
And it’s still climbing.
But other than affected consumers, the company itself was severely damaged. When the breach was announced, the market capitalization of Equifax Inc. (EFX) dropped by $6 billion. Lawsuits began, the company’s prestige took a hit and doubts over data security at a number of America’s largest companies became front-page news.
In a 2019 complaint, the FTC alleged the company failed to fix the issue, even after alerted of security vulnerabilities. Without admitting guild, Equifax settled with the FTC, 50 states and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. After the appeals process concluded, the settlement was finalized just last month.
It includes up to $425 million in fines to help those affected by the breach.
In addition, Equifax must allow all affected persons free, four-year access to credit monitoring, including not only its own Equifax services, but Experian and TransUnion services as well.
The big question is, could this data breach, a massive drop in market capitalization, the loss of trust, and $425 million in fines have been averted?
Well, new artificial intelligence tools may have been able to detect and prevent the breach, before all the madness happened. ToolCASE, a Denver-based Ai firm specializes in developing customized artificial intelligence that’s been known to detect and prevent data breaches and transactional frauds.
So, had ToolCASE’s state-of-the art technology been deployed by Equifax, it’s possible this breach could have been detected much earlier, or potentially averted altogether.
Of course, it’s too late for Equifax and all those affected. But moving forward, any business that controls massive amounts of data, especially PII, should take proactive steps to prevent future breaches and fraud.
Read more about ToolCASE’s suite of customizable Ai tools, HERE
Or read more about the Equifax settlement and issuance of free credit monitoring, HERE