RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) — Equifax will pay $700M as part of a settlement involving a 2017 data breach.
Equifax announced more than 147 million consumers were affected by a data breach in September 2017. Social Security numbers, names, birthdays, addresses, credit card numbers and even some driver’s license numbers were hacked in what is considered the largest data breach in history thus far.
The breach was not noticed for 76 days.
An investigation determined that Equifax failed to upkeep a strong security system which provided easy access to hackers.
Virginia will receive a $4M portion of the settlement, out of a total $175M for states involved in the lawsuit, and the Consumer Restitution Fund was granted $425M.
“More than 4 million Virginians had their personal information compromised by Equifax’s negligence and failure to implement adequate security programs,” said Attorney General Mark Herring.
For anyone facing identity theft, Equifax wants protecting your identity to be easier by offering the following options:
- Easier process to freeze and thaw credit
- Simpler steps to dispute inaccurate information in credit reports
- Increasing staff members
“Americans don’t choose to have companies like Equifax collecting their data — by the nature of their business models, credit bureaus collect your personal information whether you want them to or not. In light of that, the penalties for failing to secure that data should be appropriately steep. While I’m happy to see that customers who have been harmed as a result of Equifax’s shoddy cybersecurity practices will see some compensation, we need structural reforms and increased oversight of credit reporting agencies in order to make sure that this never happens again.”Senator Mark Warner (D) Virginia
Equifax plans to enhance its security features as well in the following ways:
- Reorganizing the data security team
- Limiting the collection of sensitive data and use of social security numbers
- Regular security checks
- Improved account management
- Segmenting the network
- Creating new policies for identification
Consumers can file claims, gather more information on the settlement, and check eligibility for filing claims on the Equifax registry.
You can find the registry, and receive email updates here.