• 17 hours Why Chinese Rare Earth Prices Are Soaring
  • 2 days 2021 Could Be A Huge Year For Chinese Stocks
  • 3 days Shadowy Brokers Target Easy TikTok Money In New Scheme
  • 4 days Cannabis Sales Are Soaring In The United States
  • 5 days Biden Will Be A Boon For Solar Stocks
  • 6 days The Shroom Boom Is Here To Stay
  • 9 days The Gold Rally Has Finally Run Out Of Steam
  • 9 days Citibank Analyst Predicts $300k Bitcoin By End Of 2021
  • 12 days Bitcoin Lives Up To Its Safe Haven Status In A Big Way
  • 12 days 14 Million People Will Lose Unemployment Benefits On December 31st
  • 14 days Why 12 Million American Millionaires Isn’t Good News
  • 15 days Big Oil Is Paying The Price For Investing In Renewables
  • 16 days The Banking Industry’s $35 Billion Gravy Train Could Disappear
  • 17 days Did Amazon Just Democratize Prescription Drugs?
  • 18 days The Private Space Race Just Got Very Real
  • 20 days Short Sellers Are Willing Big In This Turbulent Market
  • 21 days SpaceX Gets Go-Ahead To Send Humans Into Space
  • 22 days Saudi Arabia Lost $27 Billion In Oil Crash
  • 23 days China’s Big Tech Takes A Hit As Regulators Crack Down
  • 24 days Black Friday Could Be Retailers’ Only Hope
Trump Loses Another Leg Of The WeChat Battle

Trump Loses Another Leg Of The WeChat Battle

The Trump administration’s bid to…

Google Pledges To Go Carbon-Free By 2030

Google Pledges To Go Carbon-Free By 2030

Tech giant Google is looking…

  1. Home
  2. News
  3. Breaking News

The Infamous Equifax Hack Just Became A National Security Issue

Equifax Hack

Data breaches are among the biggest issues of our time, and the US major credit reporting agency Equifax hosted one of the biggest ever, when 44% of Americans—or a total of 147.9 million people--had their personal information revealed. Monday was a day of partial closure on this incident, with the U.S. Justice Department charging four members of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army with the breach, and momentarily taking the heat off Equifax and placing it on national security. 

U.S. Attorney General William Barr called the alleged hack “an organized and remarkably brazen criminal heist of sensitive information of nearly half of all Americans.” 

Separately, FBI officials said that there is no evidence that the data stolen has been used.

According to the charges, the men ran roughly 9,000 queries on Equifax’s system to steal the data and then covered their tracks by routing traffic through over 30 servers in almost 20 countries. 

The four defendants, Wu Zhiyong, Wang Qian, Xu Ke and Liu Lei, were members of the PLA’s 54th Research Institute, a component of the Chinese military.

“In short, this was an organized and remarkably brazen criminal heist of sensitive information of nearly half of all Americans, as well as the hard work and intellectual property of an American company, by a unit of the Chinese military,” Barr said in announcing the charges.

China’s government denied being involved in the hacking incident, with Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang saying that the country’s institutions “never engage in cybertheft of trade secrets”. 

Still, the Equifax hack marks Washington’s latest clash with Beijing over the alleged cyber espionage.

Chinese hackers have also been accused of infiltrating computers of steel manufacturers, healthcare institutions, a Marriott hotel chain and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Last July, Equifax agreed to pay up to $700 million to resolve U.S. federal and state investigations into the 2017 hack. Some $275 million is to be divided between 50 US states and territories and a penalty paid to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

It’s not a huge victory for affected users. Equifax was only ordered to pay up to $425 million to compensate consumers. That works out to a whopping $3 per affected individual, approximately. 

Related: Is A New Housing Bubble Forming?

The final deadline for the victims to file a claim as part of the settlement was January 22nd, so the individual credit depends on the number of people that filed for the compensation. And with $3 at stake, it’s not likely to result in a rush of late-filed complaints. 

The compensation amount is much smaller than even the victims of Yahoo breach received. In that case, they were able to $375 at most, and $125 at least, depending on documented losses related to the breach.

Yahoo has made the major hacking news twice in the past decade. First, in 2013, three billion accounts were compromised; in other words, the entire Yahoo! portfolio of emails at the time. Then, in 2014, 500 million accounts were hacked.

Two massive data breaches undisclosed for some three years and affecting 3.5 billion users cost Yahoo $50 million in settlement damages

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 people. Targeting agreed in 2015 to pay the victims up to $10 million collectively.   

In 2018, Latvian hacker linked to Target breaches was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

As for Yahoo’s data breach, the US authorities are pointing at Russia.  China certainly doesn’t have the market cornered on international high-profile hacking. 

By Fred Dunkley for Safehaven.com 

More Top Reads From Safehaven.com:

Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment