How to protect yourself from future identification breaches

What people may not know or appreciate is that the Equifax breach is one of the, if not the, most significant and risky data breaches to date. "Now Californians have been put at risk of identity theft for years to come". Click on the "Potential Impact" tab and enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. Among the rules under danger of repeal are measures meant to protect consumers by "curbing the use of "forced arbitration" in many consumers' financial contracts".

Equifax has a lot to apologize for.

CHRIS ARNOLD: Hey, Mary Louise.

Equifax has released a statement in which it said that Smith will vacate the company after working there for more than ten years and that its Asia-Pacific president, Paulino de Rego Barros will now serve as its new chief executive. And that people will be able to use this for free for the rest of their lives.

Whether or not your information was exposed, US consumers can get a year of free credit monitoring and other services.

Equifax, like many USA companies, requires people to agree to settle disputes by arbitration and forgo their right to a trial by jury.

The regulation would require Equifax, along with rival firms Experian (EXPN.L) and TransUnion (TRU.N), to have adequate controls in place to protect their information systems and to report known cyber breaches within 72 hours, among other things. If you are concerned with remembering random alpha-numeric strings for every website, use a password manager that allows you to save logins and passwords for almost every website you visit. Equifax says the three executives didn't know about the hack until after they sold their shares.

Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. So that's basically how it works. What kind of protection does it offer if in fact your information was compromised in the hack? Did the problem go unnoticed and unsolved for two-and-a-half months?

With Equifax's compromised security, many consumers are highly concerned about how this hack may affect them. "We already have some other ID theft monitoring though AAA and Credit Karma, and for now I feel like that's good enough", she said. They also initially asked customers to waive their right to sue the company in exchange for credit monitoring services. And the bad guys could still file a fake tax return in your name. A credit freeze prevents anyone from opening new credit accounts in your name. Some banks don't check your credit report when you open a checking account.

Hackers gained access into the information of millions of clients through a hole in a program that was structured to form web applications. So this is definitely not a cure-all.

ARNOLD: Well, you might think that.

Approximately 100,000 Canadians may have had personal information stolen in a cyberattack against Equifax that also affected about 143 million Americans. Can you give us a quick update where the investigation stands? The experts say you have to lock all three. You can create an online account with the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) so you can check your driving history periodically for any discrepancies or notices of changes to your record. Here are the questions we don't have answers to, drawn from 18 questions I sent to Equifax on Tuesday night about locks and freezes.

  • Salvatore Jensen