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44% Of Americans Affected By Equifax Data Breach

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With America still recovering from the shock of the massive Equifax data breach last year that put the user data of 145.5 million people in the hands of hackers, the company’s announcement that the breach toll has grown by another 2.4 million is bad news for everyone—except Equifax.

Despite a major problem that won’t go away, and despite the fact that 44 percent of Americans—or a total of 147.9 million people--have had their personal information revealed, Equifax stock remains resilient.

After dipping a bit on the news, it’s now gaining. In fact, an hour from the closing bell today, it’s up over 4.5 percent. That’s not bad for one of the top five biggest data breaches in history.

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Internally, of course, there was some blowback from last year’s revelations. It came to light that the credit-reporting company had allegedly known, two months earlier, that hackers had accessed its data. That created a two-month gap between the breach and when affected Americans could try to take measures to protect themselves against identity theft.

“I spent five months investigating the Equifax breach and found the company failed to disclose the full extent of the hack. Enough is enough. We have to start holding the credit reporting industry accountable," said Senator Elizabeth Warren claimed, suggesting that consumers' passport numbers  had been stolen as well, though Equifax denies this.

Equifax’s then-CEO Richard Smith, and top security officers, resigned in October in the wake of this alleged omission. Related: Can Gold Survive More Interest Rate Hikes?

Data breaches are among the biggest issues of our time, and Equifax’s was one of the biggest since 2014.

Yahoo! features twice on this list. First, in 2013 in a data breach dating back to 2014, 500 million accounts were comprised in a cyberattack.  

Yahoo gets two spots on this list.  First, in 2013, three billion accounts were comprised; in other words, the entire Yahoo! portfolio of emails at the time. Then, in 2014, 500 million accounts were hacked.

Target also was the focus of a massive cyberattack in 2013, right before the Christmas holiday, when hackers accessed the personal information of 70 million. Target didn’t let itself off the hook so easily, though: In 2015, it agreed to pay the victims up to $10 million collectively.  

Equifax is one of three nationwide credit-reporting companies for tracking and rating the financial history of U.S. consumers. And these are amazingly lucrative sources of information for hackers: The agencies are the Holy Grail of information for everything from social security numbers and credit cards numbers to loan information, and every single detail of your financial history.

Still, despite some uproar in the media, victims don’t seem to be making much of a fuss about the biggest threat to their personal security that exists. In fact, a survey from CreditCards.com found that 50 percent of adults haven't even checked their credit scores or reports since the Equifax breach. Another 20 percent don’t even know about it or are barely aware that a problem exists.

By David Craggen for Safehaven.com 

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