Everyone should be worried about the latest cybersecurity breach.
Equifax, one of the main credit score providers in America, announced Thursday that the company was the victim of a large-scale hack that exposed the personal information, including Social Security numbers, of an estimated 143 million Americans.
Hackers gained access to names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and some driver’s license numbers. About 209,000 customers’ credit card numbers were also exposed, as well as dispute documents containing personal information for about 182,000 customers.
With a hack that could affect up to 44 percent of the American population, people are understandably anxious to find out if they are among the many whose information is now at risk of identity fraud or being sold on the black market, an underground online marketplace where criminals sell personal information that can be used to get credit cards, take out loans or make purchases.
“When this type of stuff happens, it’s like, ‘Oh, crap,’” Alex McGeorge, head of threat intelligence at the security firm Immunity, told Wired. “Your Social Security number doesn’t change, so this data is going to get resold on the black market and hold its value for a while.”
To find out if you’ve been affected, you can check on a website Equifax has set up in response to the hack: www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.
At the bottom of the page, the company directs you to a link titled “Potential Impact,” which allows you to see if your information is safe. The catch? You have to provide your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number.
Several HuffPost staff members attempted this and received one of two messages: One confirms that the user was not affected by the breach and the other message sends the user a date for when they can enroll in the company’s credit-monitoring service, TrustedID Premier.
The latter message does not confirm whether or not the user was affected, and Equifax did not immediately return HuffPost’s request for clarification.