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In Equifax Data Breach, Three Hard Lessons in Risk

Bil Harmer | Sept. 29, 2017
How much security risk can an organisation accept before it’s on very thin ice?

If bad actors feel comfortable tinkering with elections, and now the U.S. credit system, what will be the third leg in the stool? Wiping out the power grid? Cutting off the water supply? The real danger of such attacks – not to mention the day-to-day attacks, even limited ones, that can wreak havoc with a business –  is to fuel the paranoia and anxiety growing in the country with a goal of denigrating trust in the systems that make America what it is.  This injects a third, more serious kind of risk into the equation, the risk of undermining our economy, our elections, or our resources.

As the story of this breach unfolds, it has the potential to have as significant an impact on cyber security and risk practices as Enron did on financial and disclosure practices. Will America adopt legislation similar to Europe’s impending GDPR to tip the scales in favor of consumer privacy?

 

Epilogue – Secondary Risks

The shakeout of this event is already palpable. Just this week, Experian, another of the big three credit agencies has been sucked into the vortex of this breach. The company, which also offers credit scoring and monitoring offers consumers a service to “freeze” their credit against applications for new lines of credit. Unfortunately, their “pin recovery” process can be completed with the very information that was breached in the Equifax hack. If you find that both puzzling and dismaying, then you are truly grasping both the gravity and the downstream effects of this breach on consumers.

 

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