Remember that epic Equifax hack from 2017? As it turns out, the company made it pretty easy for hackers to get in. A recent filing in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division points out a few of the company’s missteps that might have led to the breach.
The first of those issues comes in the form of the password the company users to protect a portal used to manage credit disputes. While you might think a major company holding personal information like people’s names, addresses, and social security numbers might use an exceptionally secure password in that instance, it actually went for something a different: It used “admin” as both the username and password for the portal.
Not exactly the most secure move.
If the shoddy password wasn’t enough, the company also stored unencrypted user information on a public-facing server. That meant that any attacker that compromised the website’s server would immediately have access to all the personal information stored on it, with no additional work required.
The website also wasn’t the only thing it left unencrypted. The company also failed to encrypt its mobile applications, so not only was it keeping sensitive data unencrypted on its own server, it was transmitting that data unencrypted over the internet.
When it did finally encrypt that data, it “left the keys to unlocking the encryption on the same public-facing servers, making it easy to remove the encryption from the data.”
The court filing suggests that the inadequacies in Equifax’s encryption protocol fell short of industry standards and data security laws, going as far to say that the company “did not know what they were doing with respect to data security.”
The hack on Equifax in 2017 reportedly impacted approximately 147 million people, exposing their personal information and social security numbers.
As part of a settlement from the incident, Equifax is paying more than $300 million toward credit monitoring services for the impacted customers. It’s also compensating customers who paid out-of-pocket expenses as a result of the breach.
If you were impacted, you can apply to receive credit monitoring services or a $125 settlement via Equifax’s site now.
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