ISU offers seminar on how to recover from data breach

When news broke in August that hackers had breached the security of credit reporting agency Equifax, to the tune the exposure of vital information about 143 million Americans, not everyone took the reports seriously, Iowa State University’s Carol Ehlers said last week.

“I have comments from consumers that they dismissed the initial news reports because they didn’t have a credit card with Equifax,” she said.

But unlike data breaches at retailers such as Target, which released the debit and credit card numbers directly to hackers, the Equifax breach didn’t expose many credit card numbers, Ehlers said during a webinar broadcast at the Calhoun County ISU Extension Office. Instead, it gave hackers names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, even drivers license numbers – the kind of information thieves can use to steal identities, open new credit cards and take out loans.

The best protection for consumers affected by the breach – including more than 1 million Iowans – is to place a credit freeze with all three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and Transunion. 

Read more in the Oct. 11 edition.