Consumer precautions after the Equifax cybersecurity breach

Cyber criminals seek the easiest profit and will move on to the next when an individual’s information poses any added difficulty. The world was focused in early September 2017 on the hurricane that hit the South Florida Coast, and rightfully so. However, another storm was brewing, and continues to rage: cyber crime. The most recent storm was an attack on one of the largest credit bureaus of the United States, Equifax. Over 143 million Americans were affected by this data breach. This is the mother of attacks on the cyber world. The credit bureau holds information on not only the credit line of people and their scores, but also social security numbers, addresses, past addresses, family members, bank accounts, and some criminal records. All of this information can be used to conduct identity theft, file false tax returns, and open fraudulent credit and bank accounts. It is extremely difficult and tedious to recover from identity theft, so it is critical to take action now. More consumers than not have been affected. So the next question is: What should they do about it? As an experienced cybersecurity veteran, I have expert insight and knowledge into what consumers need to do in order to protect themselves and their family from this devastating data breach. A simple action plan Now, the everyday consumer should be considering how best protect themselves. The most immediate action to take is to utilize a feature called security freeze, or a credit freeze. This allows consumers to basically freeze credit and release it only with a dedicated personal pin code. They will need to go online to each of the big three credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian and purchase/sign-up for a security freeze. A security freeze is the best way to protect personal identity and prevent criminals from opening accounts in someone else’s name. Next, consumers should set up a fraud alert through one of the big three credit bureaus. This will put a 90-day renewable alert on an individual’s credit report and will make lenders contact those individuals directly before opening an account in their name. One bureau will alert the other two of a request for fraud alert, so it’s unnecessary to request one at all three. Again, this added layer of verification will help protect personal information and identity by making it more difficult for criminals to be successful. Criminals seek the easiest profit and will move on to the next when an individual’s information poses any added difficulty. One last consumer protection tip Everyone should put as many factors of authentication on their credit line, bank account, and all other sensitive information. Be vigilant and monitor banks accounts and credit reports for any suspicious activity regularly. Proper cyber hygiene and awareness goes a long way toward protecting individual and families. Unlike hurricanes, cyber crime doesn’t occur within the bounds of a 5-month season. Cyber criminals are always looking to exploit and gain access to consumer information, which is why members of the public should take as many precautions as possible to protect themselves. Idan Udi Edry is the newly announced CEO of Trustifi, a cybersecurity company specializing in email encryption services and security. Edry can be contacted through LinkedIn.


About John Fagan

John is a Jacksonville native who grew up on the First Coast. He graduated from Bishop Kenny High School in 1975 and went to college at Florida State University where he completed a 4-year program in 3 years. John graduated from the Florida State University College of Business in 1978 and went straight into Florida State University College of Law. While in law school, John earned a position on the prestigious Law Review Board serving as its Business Editor. As a law student, John studied in the Oxford program. He also interned with the Florida Legislature working in the Florida House of Representatives Criminal Justice Committee. John was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1981. John began his legal career as a law school intern in the State Attorney's Office in Jacksonville in 1981. After his internship, legendary State Attorney Ed Austin hired John as a full-time Assistant State Attorney for the Fourth Judicial Circuit (Clay, Duval, and Nassau Counties). As a prosecutor, John tried jury and non-jury trial on charges ranging from DUI to Murder. In 1983, John moved from the State Attorney's Office to begin his career in private practice. He has practiced law for 30 years on the First Coast. For the last 20 years, John and his family have made Clay County their home. John limits his practice to personal injury and disability cases. While there are many fine attorneys in Clay County, John is one of only a few Clay County attorneys who limit their practice to personal injury and disability cases. John takes pride in helping clients resolve injury claims in ways that avoid the stress, uncertainty, and the expense of unnecessary litigation. Professional Activities John is the past President of the Clay County Bar Association and has served on the Board of the Clay County Bar Association from 2009-2013. He is an active member of the Florida Bar, and the Federal Bar of the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida. He is also a member of the American Association of Justice, the Florida Association of Justice, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives, and the National Organization of Veterans' Advocates. Service to the Community John is involved in the Clay County Community serving as a member and Director of the Rotary Club of Orange Park, of the Clay County Bar Association, and the Putnam County Bar Association.
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