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Insight of Equifax Data Breach 2017 Case Study Example Ireland

Equifax data breaches took place in the middle of 2017 and it happened at the US credits bureau Equifax.

In this data breach, the private records of the US, British, and Canadian citizens were compromised. This data breach was considered a cybercrime of significant proportion that led to identity thefts of the victims.

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As part of the settlement with the US federal trading commissions, Equifax offered the victims of the cybercrime settlement funds as also free monitoring of credits.

In 2020 the government of the USA concluded that the People’s Liberation Armies of China was behind the Equifax data breaches. However, the Chinese Communist parties denied such claims.

This case study helps the readers and the audience to understand the Equifax data breaches. It also helps the readers to know about the disclosures as also the short-term responses. The content write-up also discusses litigation, perpetrators, and criticism.

Equifax Data Breaches

The data breaches that happened with Equifax were done by third-party software. Equifax was utilizing open-source software like the Apache Struts as the framework for website for systems that sorts out credit disputes from the clients.

While utilizing a third-party security patch for the Apache Struts security experts discovered that an unidentified hacking group was in search of websites that failed to update the open-source software (Apache Struts).

As understood through post-mortem analysis the Equifax data breaches commenced on 12th May 2017. When the data breach took place then Equifax was yet to update its website on credit disputes with the updated version of Apache Struts.

The hackers utilized exploits so that they can gain access to the Equifax internal servers. Hackers were able to hack data internal credentials that were meant for Equifax employees and that facilitated the hackers to go through the various databases meant for monitoring credits.

The hackers also search and scanned Equifax databases using encryption. They did the extraction of information in a manner so that it cannot be tracked or traced. The activity of hacking continued for 76 days and thereafter Equifax detected the data breach. Post detection of the breach the exploit was shut down by Equifax.

Investigations revealed that at least 34 servers that were distributed across 20 different nations were utilized to do the data breach. Failure in updating Apache Struts was the cause of the data breach. There were faults within the Equifax systems that facilitated the data breach.

Besides, improper network designs and inadequate encryptions of personal information as an ineffective mechanism for detecting breaches are some of the reasons behind the data breach.

The information that was stolen as part of the data breach incorporated SSN, names, date of births, addresses, license numbers of drivers, credit card numbers.

Besides, as part of the data breach information on disputed documents was also stolen by the hackers. The victims of the data breach were mainly the Americans, the Britons, and the Canadians.

Responses to the data breach

On the 7th of September, 2017, Equifax disclosed the breach. The disclosure also included information on the scope and magnitude of the breach. As a result of the disclosure about the Equifax data breach, the shares of the company fell by 13 % in day trading.

The media also suggested clients request credit freezes to diminish the impact of the data breach. As a consequence of the data breach of Equifax, a bill was introduced in the USA just three days after the breach (dated 10th September 2017), and that diminished consumer protections concerning the national credit bureaus. To know more about this bill, it is advised to visit relevant papers that are available on the web.

On 15th September Equifax decided to sack or replace the chief information officer (CIO), chief security officer (CSO). Because of the data breach that the company suffered, Equifax hired cyber security firms like Mandiant on the 2nd of August 2017 for investigation purposes. On 26th October 2017, Equifax made new appointments to its board of directors to oversee the company’s cyber security team.

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Litigations

Just after the disclosure of the data breach by Equifax, several lawsuits were filed against the company.

In a lawsuit, the company Geragos and Geragos has sought damages to the tune of $70 billion. Besides, many customers have sought damages from Equifax because of the data breach.

In September 2017 the then director of the CFPB was authorized to do an investigation into the breach of data in favor of the affected clients.

On the 22nd July 2019, Equifax agreed to arrive at a settlement with the CFPB, FTC, Washington DC, 48 US states, and Puerto Rico to get rid of the damages that affected the victims of the data breach. Equifax also made changes in its organizational structure to prevent such data breaches in the future.

Perpetrators

The US department of justice announced on the 10th of February 2020 that the People’s Republic of China was responsible for the data breaches that adversely affected Equifax. However, there was no adequate evidence that China used the data that was obtained from the data breach. Officials in the Chinese government denied its involvement in the Equifax data breaches.

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