data breach

a.k.a. unintentional information disclosure, data leak, data spill

The release of private information to an untrusted environment, it can be intentional or unintentional, and the information is usually secure and confidential . Other terms for this phenomenon include

Historical perspective: It’s not the biggest data breach of all time, but it’s probably the worst, said Dan Goodin in Equifax, one of the three major U.S. credit bureaus, revealed in September 2017, that hackers had obtained sensitive information, including Social Security numbers, birthdates, and even driver’s license numbers, for 143 million people. Other high-profile cyberattacks, such as those that hit Yahoo in 2013 and 2014, involved hundreds of millions of additional accounts. But “in most cases the damage could be contained by changing a password or getting a new credit card number.” This time, however, criminals have managed to get their hands on highly sensitive personal data. Since the 143 million people affected excludes children and people without credit histories, the hack means that more than half of all U.S. residents who rely on bank loans and credit cards “are now at a significantly higher risk of fraud and will remain so for years to come.”

“Worried you may be affected by Equifax’s massive data breach?” asked Brian Fung in The Washington Post. The credit bureau has a website,, where you can see if your data was compromised. You can also use the site to sign up for a year of free credit monitoring and identity theft insurance. To access the site, you’ll have to provide Equifax with your last name and the final six digits of your Social Security number; the fact that “you must volunteer more of what would otherwise be private information may not inspire much confidence.” If you decide you’d rather not deal with Equifax, “you can still monitor your own credit.” You’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies every year, meaning “you can effectively check your credit free every four months or so.”

“Equifax will not be contacting everyone who was affected, but will send direct-mail notices to those whose credit card numbers or dispute records were accessed,” said Katie Lobosco in If you were affected, you can protect yourself by putting a freeze on your credit with each of the three credit-reporting agencies— Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—usually for a fee of less than $10. This will prevent fraudsters from borrowing under your name. Breaches like these are upsetting, but “the only thing we can do is try to protect our data as best we can, and respond quickly if something does happen,” said Lauren Lyons Cole in Let this be a reminder to keep close tabs on your financial accounts and credit report, just as you do on your email or Instagram account. “No one is going to be more interested in your financial situation than you are. Not even a hacker.”

See also : data Valdez  zombie  
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