Skip to main content

Equifax could make money from its own breach; 2.4 million more are exposed

Atlanta-based Equifax disclosed in September that a “cybersecurity incident” exposed the data of approximately 143 million U.S.-based customers. Six months later, the credit-rating agency added another 2.4 million U.S.-based customers to that number as part of an ongoing analysis. But while the company appears to be apologetic and embarrassed over the hack on the outside, Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, believes the company could actually generate cash from the breach. 

How? Because it sells credit protection “devices,” or services. Even if customers swear they will never do business with Equifax again after the 2017 breach, third-party credit protection services may still use Equifax. That means the company is reeling in the big bucks from its own breach no matter where customers land. But Senator Warren and Senator Mark Warner, D-VA, want to change that. 

According to their proposal called “strict liability,” every customer gets $100 for the theft of the first piece of data, and $50 for every piece of data stolen thereafter up to half the value of the company. They believe this will push credit-rating agencies to get serious about investing in what is needed to protect Americans and their personal information. If not, we can count on another massive Equifax-style breach in the near future. 

“It’s hard. It’s flat. It’s easy to read,” she said. “And the point is to get the credit-rating agencies to take the right level of security. They take the right level of security, they invest enough in security, then the American people will be protected.” 

After a five-month investigation, Warren released a report detailing Equifax’s shortcomings regarding data protection. She details how security researchers warned of a vulnerability in the website, and how the company never confirmed that administrators actually patched the security hole. The Department of Homeland Security and external experts even warned Equifax of various vulnerabilities before the breach. Smaller break-ins took place prior to 2017. 

What’s interesting is Equifax’s fight with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). According to the report, Equifax essentially coerced the IRS into signing a new $7.2 million contract by using “federal contracting loopholes” knowing full well it had security issues. But the IRS eventually canceled the contract after discovering the additional security weaknesses that could expose the sensitive information of taxpayers. 

“We found out that Equifax failed to follow its own internal requirements for notifying consumers following the breach of sensitive data,” she said. “And we found that Equifax’s entire cybersecurity apparatus was inadequate to protect American consumers.” 

The 2017 hack exposed credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, names, birth dates, addresses, and partial driver’s license numbers. Equifax discovered the network breach on July 29 but didn’t make the data leak known until the following September. The hack took place sometime between May and July of that year. 

“We put [our investigation] together from a lot of different places and found out that Equifax, quite simply, had not told the whole story to the American people,” Warren said. “What they did was worse, a whole lot worse, than they originally admitted.” 

Kevin Parrish
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then…
This new Windows 11 setting could improve performance and battery life
Windows 11 updates are moving to once a year.

Yesterday, Microsoft released the Windows 11 26252 build, which brings a flood of innovations that will give users a much-needed power boost. One of those changes is a new power setting that will provide the user more control when their PC is on battery power or not, as Phantom Ocean 3 mentions in a post on X (formerly Twitter), which was noticed by Windows Latest.

In theory, this greater degree of control will allow your system to automate power settings so that you don't forget to manually switch them while plugged in or on battery.

Read more
Best Prime Day laptop deals in 2024: Surface Pro, Razer, HP, Dell
Best Prime Day Deals

We can smell Prime Day in the air. The shopping holiday kicks off on July 16 and runs through July 17. However, the discounts are already starting to sprout up, so we've collected some early Prime Day deals on laptops below. We've also broken down what to expect for the main event and how to approach buying a new laptop during Prime Day. This page will be ever-evolving (bookmark it!) as we know more, the event approaches, and more deals become available. Looking for something beyond laptops? Deals exist beyond laptops, of course, and we'll be covering all of the big categories and items you want in our main Prime Day deals coverage.

Today's best laptop deals
Prime Day officially runs from July 16 to July 17. If you want the most options in your deals, you should wait until then to buy a laptop. But, if you're struggling to keep that new laptop itch at bay, there are great laptop deals all year round. While we encourage you to wait until next month to get the widest selection, there's nothing wrong with taking advantage of a deal right now, so long as it suits you.

Read more
Best Prime Day MacBook deals in 2024: Air, M1, M2, M3
Best Prime Day Deals

If you've been eagerly anticipating Prime Day 2024, your wait is almost over. Day One officially kicks off on July 16. It will run for two days until July 17 with loads of great discounts and offers. If you're thinking about buying a MacBook from this year's Prime Day deals, you won't have to wait for long. In fact, there are some early Prime Day laptop deals available right now. Apple's laptops carry premium prices for several good reasons, so there's always a high demand for discounts. You'll get a lot of opportunities with the upcoming Prime Day MacBook deals, but since you'll be racing against other shoppers to score the best bargains, we recommend that you prepare yourself for the shopping event with the tips we've gathered below.
Today's best MacBook deals

Officially, Amazon Prime Day 2024 arrives on July 16 and July 17 with its MacBook deals, so you're going to have to exercise some patience for a week or so. However, if you need a new MacBook as soon as possible, you should know that there are offers that you can take advantage of right now. We've rounded our favorite picks below -- you should know that these prices may go lower on Prime Day, but it can't be helped if you must have your new MacBook immediately.

Read more