The Equifax data breach is a pretty big deal, possibly the worst breach of personal info in history. Given the nature of data (social security numbers and credit data) and number of people affected (143 million?), you can’t afford to ignore it. If you live in the U.S., there’s a pretty good likelihood you’re affected, even if you don’t use Equifax’s service explicitly.
In terms of what to do, Equifax released a tool that will tell you if you’re affected, but it’s got this shady clause which apparently enrolls you into a TrustedID program that would waive your right to sue Equifax in a class action. I wouldn’t bother even visiting the site. It won’t help you.
The best step is probably just to put a freeze on your credit file, which will prevent unauthorized activity using your SSID or credit. You’ll have to do this with each agency, so if you want to, here are their websites:
Outside of that, a few other tips:
- Be more diligent in terms of watching your credit and credit card activity, and so on. Look for weird purchases and assume the worst. Consider enrolling in an ID protection service that could help you track and/or deal with an identity fraud situation if it happens.
- If you aren’t already using a password manager (e.g. 1Password), now’s a good time to start. They not only save you from having to remember passwords, but they auto-generate super long and secure ones for you
- Figure out what your “critical” logins are (for example, Gmail, which is basically a one-stop shop access to your whole world). For these, reset their passwords now (and every so often), and enable 2FA (two-factor authentication). This will ensure that even if someone has your password, they can’t login without your secondary device (e.g. your phone).
Stay on your toes, people.