Equifax, one of the nation’s largest credit score companies, announced a data breach of up to 143 million customer accounts on September 7. Sometime between May and July of this year, criminal hackers gained access to the records which included Social Security Numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver license numbers and over 200,000 credit card numbers.
Equifax has set up a website to assist individuals determine whether their information was impacted. The company is also offering up to one year of free credit protection. The Information Technology Services Security team at the University of Nebraska wants you to remind you to always proactively protect yourself and your data.
The following steps, by the National Cybersecurity Alliance, is a great place to start:
- Lock down your login. Use strong authentication — more than a username and password to access accounts — to protect your most valuable accounts, including email, social media and financial.
- Keep clean machines: Prevent infections by updating critical software as soon as patches or new operating system versions are available. This includes mobile and other internet-connected devices.
- Monitor activity on your financial and credit card accounts. If appropriate, implement a fraud alert or credit freeze with one of the three credit bureaus (this is free and may be included if credit monitoring is provided post breach). For more information, visit the Federal Trade Commission website.
- When in doubt, throw it out. Scammers and others have been known to use data breaches and other incidents to send out emails and posts related to the incident to lure people into providing their information. Delete any suspicious emails or posts, and get information only from legitimate sources.
For more information on the breach and to determine its impact on you, visit the Equifax website.
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