The Cybersecurity Lesson in the Equifax Data Breach

Data on a screen

One of the largest data breaches ever recorded was revealed this week, as credit company Equifax announced it had fallen victim to a cyber attack that may have compromised the personal data of a staggering 143 million US customers.

The attack is even more alarming given that Equifax is one of three major credit reporting companies, and the data reported to be compromised included names, addresses, birth dates and even social security numbers. While bigger breaches have been reported in the past, the personal nature of the data involved makes this significant.

Pamela Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum said:

This is about as bad as it gets. If you have a credit report, chances are you may be in this breach. The chances are much better than 50 percent.

The attack took place between May and July of this year, with the criminals gaining access to the information via a weakness in the website’s software.

Equifax reports that it is working with the relevant authorities to find those responsible.

You can read a statement by Equifax here.

Could ECG Biometrics Be the Key?

Details of exactly how the breach was carried out aren’t public knowledge for now and while we can’t speculate, there’s a clear lesson here on cybersecurity for business.

Businesses of any size can be vulnerable to cyber threats, even with security protocols in place.

A key question for us here is whether ECG biometrics could have played a role in preventing an incident of this scale.

The internal nature of ECG authentication solutions could add a layer of security it is hard to spoof or harvest, limiting access to business-critical systems and services.

Repairing Trust

What’s also important is the consequences breaches have on the public perception of the security of their personal information. As customers become evermore digitally-savvy, the impact of such a breach on customer trust has implications beyond the affected business itself.

Investing in next generation security such as ECG biometric authentication could bolster trust between people and the organisations that store, process and manage their data.

Learn more about ECG biometrics.