On the other hand, these things always settle out of court, and Equifax certainly won't settle the suit for more than they're worth.
I said it elsewhere, but I think the right response is to opt out of the class, and sue for $1000 in small claims court. If ~15% of the class does this, they are out of business, and lawyers don't get a dime of the $1000.
Also, I'd love to see a new non-profit website that automated the paperwork.
The cost of pursuing each claim individually would usually be sufficiently high as to make pursuing a claim unviable. The behavior would remain uncorrected, and the injured parties would receive neither compensation nor the knowledge that the behavior has been altered or eliminated. Nobody wins in that situation.
And while it's almost inevitable that discussions about class action suits will involve complaints about the lawyers fees, that's not really fair. Mass tort litigation is complex and involves significant investments of time and resources on the part of the attorneys involved. Especially if they actually make it to trial. It might seem unfair at first glance, but it enables the class to access the legal system and justice where it otherwise would not. They may be imperfect, but they're a hell of a lot better than the alternative and have had a profound positive impact on our society.
That was exactly what they were supposed to be about. The way it usually works out, however, is that the lawyers don't really negotiate on the same side of the table as the class and the class members end up with very little. The lawyers, however, get their fees.
That's why everybody gets pissed about it.
There are other legal remedies to force a change of behavior. If the lawyer wants to use my name (as a class member) for leverage in the suit, he or she should be representing me. The class action is something that is supposed to be for the class members' advantage- working as a group for legal remedy. The tradeoff is you don't get as much legal remedy as you may have had you footed the entire bill and risk of a lawsuit yourself. But some of the negotiated remedies are, indeed, a joke.
No, they really aren't, because as the parent says class actions are appropriate where the harm to each individual class member is small, but the small harm is spread out to many people. You as an individual were not harmed much, so you as an individual would not collect much even if you went it alone and recovered 100%. Litigation doesn't (generally) yield more than the harm you suffered.
Besides, if you want a lawyer to represent your interests alone, then you are free to not join the class and pursue your own individual case with the lawyer(s) of your choosing.
According to the U.S. Supreme Court, the “principal purpose” of class actions is “the efficiency and economy of litigation.” The Court has also noted other justifications for class actions, including:
the protection of the defendant from inconsistent obligations;
the protection of the interests of absentees;
the provision of a convenient and economical means of disposing of similar lawsuits; and
the facilitation of the spreading of litigation costs among numerous litigants with similar claims.
Fewer people than most realize are actually able to do this. Good lawyers don't generally take contingency cases, and if the case is even remotely involved, fees quickly reach to six figures.
Perhaps worse is the stress. Once initiated, you have virtually no control over the process, and it can take over your life. The motions and counter-motions, delays and hearings will wear you down. If the adversary is much better-funded, then they can make it nearly unbearable.
The legal system is not what most people imagine, especially those who flippantly threaten to sue. You have to go through an action (or be close to someone who is) to really get that. Engaging is stressful and costly and, unless you're a combative type with deep pockets who just loves to fight, you'll likely feel like you lost, no matter the outcome.
This, as much as anything, is why class actions are so prevalent.
If you're paying them they're representing you. If they spend a single client's or their own time building a case, they're not representing you. They are representing your class. If you want to be represented, opt out and hire a lawyer.
The lawyers are getting their fees to pay for the service of causing class-action suits to happen. Even if the remedies for a class member are a joke, the amount the company pays is, supposedly, not a joke (and yes, a good amount of that is probably paying those lawyers), and that's supposed to be a deterrent for other companies who are thinking of making the same mistakes.
Whether this works out in practice is debatable, but the current system is coherent in theory.
No, it isn't better than the alternative. The alternative is to have regulators selected and overseen by elected officials regulate the behavior of companies. We instead of a system of regulation by self appointed ad hoc lawyer-regulators negotiating settlements they think will get past the judge overseeing their case and allow them to collect a fee.
The latter is perhaps better than nothing, but it isn't better than the alternative which happens to be in place in the rest of the developed world.
The self-appointed lawyer regulators at least have an incentive to do their jobs: they get a bunch of money.
That is why I have plenty of competition for Internet Access and Net Neutrality is vigorously enforced
That is why the FTC routinely issues fines for False Advertisers for all the false claims that are made daily in ads
That is why there are plenty of bankers in jail for crashing the economy in 2007,
Government regulation is grand
Paraphrasing, we are currently getting the regulation we deserve - good and hard.
The system was always a plutocracy and will always be.
Of course it's fair. It's not like the members of the class get to shop around for cheaper lawyers. The class gets shit either way, they just have to decide if they hate the company more than the lawyers that charge the obscene percentages. And you can't make any kind of cost argument because a billion dollar case isn't anymore complex than a million dollar case. The whole point of it being a class is that it impacted everyone the same so the dollar figures don't change the complexity.
This case is typical: https://www.paymentcardsettlement.com/Content/Documents/Orde.... $5.7 billion settlement, about $500 million in attorneys' fees, or less than 10% of the fund. $160 million worth of time invested by the attorneys to get to that point.
> And you can't make any kind of cost argument because a billion dollar case isn't anymore complex than a million dollar case.
That's not true at all. Big dollar value cases involve either large harms to relatively fewer people, or relatively small harms to large numbers of people. The former kind of case often involves complex subject matter, such as financial transactions, medicines, etc. The latter kind of case often involves a very diverse class and complex issues of causation and damages. Consider the TicketMaster lawsuit: the basic theory of damages is that class members would not have purchased the tickets had they known that TicketMaster was marking up things like UPS charges. Well, clearly lots of class members would have purchased the tickets anyway. Coming up with a realistic damages model in that scenario is difficult. Furthermore, in big consumer class actions like that you've got class members in fifty states with fifty different sets of laws.
>$5.7 billion settlement, about $500 million in attorneys' fees, or less than 10% of the fund. $160 million worth of time invested by the attorneys to get to that point.
How often to private retained attorneys get $320 million in pure profit. Additionally the 'time invested' already has income for all of the involved lawyers.
The fact that it requires so much expertise and money to "access the legal system" in this way is in itself incredibly unfair and unjust. It's a completely broken system.
The real damages here are going to be to the banks and credit card companies that will have to absorb the costs of all the fraud.
As to the Ticket Master case, you can read the complaint yourself and see if $5 or so per class member settlement value was reasonable: http://www.ticketfeelitigation.com/docs/Fourth_Amended_Compl.... The theory was that TicketMaster didn't disclose that it was marking up fees for things like UPS delivery and order processing, and that if customers had known they wouldn't have ordered the tickets. That's a weak damages theory, because customers don't care about line items they care about the bottom line. Either they'll pay $X for the tickets or they won't. Unsurprisingly, that weak damages theory lead to a small per-class-member settlement.
Are credit card companies now in the habit of reimbursing consumers for the considerable time and headache required to sort out fraudulent charges caused by insecure data storage practices in the credit reporting agencies that the credit card companies contract with?
There are numerous reports of identity fraud causing a significant amount of trouble for the consumers involved, and as far as I know, not a one of them has ever received a letter beginning, "We're sorry for the time and trouble you went through to clear this up", with an attached check.
The hassle will be convincing all those companies that you do not in fact owe them thousands, and there is no automatic protections for these types of harms.
It's not a "habit", it's the law. It doesn't matter how the fraudulent charges came to be. If a person disputes a charge and has evidence to show it's fraudulent, then by law the credit card company has to investigate, and deal with it.
It also makes business sense. CC companies make a ton of money with legal transactions, and an anti-consumer, pro-fraud reputation would cost them customers.
> There are numerous reports of identity fraud causing a significant amount of trouble for the consumers involved, and as far as I know, not a one of them has ever received a letter beginning, "We're sorry for the time and trouble you went through to clear this up", with an attached check.
Why would the bank or credit card company send a check? Presumably they're not the one who committed the crime, so why should they cover the damages?
I've had my identity stolen, and it was a PITA to clear up, but the bank and credit companies were reasonable about it, IMO. In a case like this, where it's easy to point at the Equifax breach and say, "See? This is how they got my info.", it's probably even easier to clear up, though I'm sure it's still a hassle.
I'm not sure how much I'd want someone to pay me for an hour of my time. Clearing up identity theft can take many hours. Those are hours I can spend bugging the missus, or even bugging you folks.
I am clearly not to blame for their data exfiltration. Who is going to pay me for my time? What is my time worth to them?
This is all theoretical. My credit has been frozen for a long time. It has been that way since the OPM hack. However, for the sake of expression, I point out that my time is pretty valuable to me. Those who steal my time are worse than those who would steal my property. I can insure my property, I can not replace my time.
Last month my auto registration sticker didn't show up in the mail after renewing it. A trip to the county clerk, then the sheriff's office to file a report, then back to the clerk to get another sticker took almost two hours. Stopping by the local bank to change my address after the online system locked my account for two incorrect password attempts took 90 minutes. 6 phone calls after a cancelled auto insurance policy made an auto draft the next month. My coworker has a pile of kids, two with medical issues, it seems like his wife has a part time job dealing with medical billing issues.
Most of these rambling examples aren't the fault of the organizing institution (unlike the Equifax leak at hand), but in the end individuals are bound by those institutions' organizational practices in their pursuit of normalcy. I don't know how it could be implemented or enforced, but at a certain point it feels like individuals should be compensated for suffering organizational incompetence or negligence.
Which gets me to my response:
Cherish that time. I don't care about longevity, I care about maximum value. I may be content to die today, but I'm not content wasting time on something that is forced on me.
I don't regret much, but I do regret my time that was wasted by others. As I look back, I see do many situations where I could have disallowed that while still getting the same eventual outcome.
For instance, in a past life I may call up to question a charge on my cable bill. Now that I have more money, I don't waste my time on such nonsense. If the cable company wants to charge me an extra $20 for no reason, they can do so, because it's not worth my time to call them up and get shuffled between departments for 2 hours.
But the time it takes on the phone to talk to an agent, review your records for legit vs illegit charges, etc. are not reimbursed, which is what they were on about.
> Why would the bank or credit card company send a check?
I think we're talking Target writing the check. Which they didn't exactly volunteer to do, but was covered in the class action at least: https://targetbreachsettlement.com/mainpage/CommonlyAskedQue...
Fraudulent charges on a credit card are the least of my concerns. This opens us up to a lifetime of identity theft and insecure accounts of every sort. I'm not even sure how they can approach remedying the problem. Coordinate with the SSA to get 150 million people new SSNs at the least.
There is mo way to even estimate the damage as some devious ways of it harming us may not even exist yet.
Scifi story idea:
Far future. Life extension possible. The government will provide it free (if you want it) - one time only though - when you are near the end of your first life. Upon extension, this technology also turns the clock back to renew you to 20 years old.
You're 78 years old, frail, ready to kick it, but decide to do the extension. You go into the clinic. Give them your information, etc.
We're sorry, you've already been rejuvenated before. We can't help you, unless you want to pay $$$$$$ for us to go ahead with the procedure.
The solution, whatever it is, does not include anyone continuing to pretend that the SSN is now or has ever been suitable for any purposes other than for tracking government benefits managed by the SSA, and possibly also for tax filings with the IRS.
... and all of the other government benefits, programs, or mandated activities, many (all?) of which demand your SSN. Are you even sure that the credit industry, i.e. banks, originally misused SSNs? I wouldn't be surprised if they were required, by the government, to use them, precisely because it is the closest thing to an official "unique identifier".
Some people also might be concerned with not receiving their SS benefits either, which isn't entirely far-fetched given that others might now be using it for nefarious purposes (like trying to collect their SS benefits).
I read something somewhere else (maybe on a different HN thread, maybe here?) that this was changed in 2000 for something called "red flag laws", IIRC.
So yeah - it is required.
There's no such thing as loosing your ssn because it is already public.
No one will be paid for their time wasted over ID theft resulting from this breach. That's what "made whole" would mean to me.
The extent of the potential damages here isn't limited to credit card fraud. Having your SSN leaked along with your name, date of birth, every recent address you've had, etc. opens you up to a lot of other attack vectors.
Furthermore, credit reports can often inadvertently contain information that relates to one's medical history - you can request that this information be obscured or sealed in your report if you find it, but that means that certain medical information is also within the scope of the potential leak.
The government is clearly of the opinion that they can and should prosecute people for leaking information which could cause possible harms.
I’m clearly not a lawyer, but these scenarios seem pretty similar to my untrained eye.
I've been through quite a bit of training and held my clearance for years. I was a victim of the OPM hack. Well, I guess I still am a victim. Mens rea doesn't really apply when handling classified material/data. If it is accidental AND you report it properly, it's not jail - you are so losing your job, however. You also lose your clearance. It has been a while, but I'm pretty sure you lose it forever.
This is not true at all. They simply reverse the charges. Businesses who accepted the fraudulent transaction(s) are on the hook for it. Anyone who runs a business and handles credit card processing can confirm this.
It does seem like any penalty for something like this should severely impact the ability of the company to operate though.
I suppose a $0 way to penalize them severely would be to force Equifax to allow individuals to opt out of having Equifax store information about them. Lots of people would do so without understanding that it might impact their ability to get a loan, but so what.
Maybe the USA needs everyone to have a new ssn and ban with very strict penalties is use by any one other than the state and then only for highly restricted usages as it is in the UK
While it doesn't solve the "papers please" aspect:
1. Card holds biometric data of person, plus PIN. Card is the only thing that holds this.
2. All card does is output "yes or no" if you are you.
3. You have or use a reader for authenticating who you are. The reader takes you biometric data (fingerprint scan, face scan, or something else), and has you enter your pin. It takes this info, hashes it, compares to the stored info, and outputs the "yes" or "no" answer.
Very basic thing here. 3-factor, and the data about you is never stored anywhere, and the card/reader combo does the rest. The data about you never leaves the card (in fact, it can't - it would be write only for that data).
We have all the technology to do this today. What we don't have is the will. So it won't be implemented.
I'm not saying the above is perfect - but it is 3-factor (what you are, what you have, what you know), and that is what is needed most. The information stays with the owner on the card. All transactions can only be done with the card on-hand to prove you are you. You can change the PIN at will, maybe even the biometric data - but both are write-only, and can't leave the card. The card can read in data (an image for the biometric data, and the code for the PIN), but all it does is hash that together, compare it to the stored hash, and output a yes/no.
I'm not saying the above is perfect, and I am sure I have forgotten something. But it - or something like it - is what we ultimately need. But we won't get it. Ever.
Also, notice the other subtle dependency that was introduced with the PIN only kept on the card - the PIN might as well not exist.
This is all known. The issue isn't how to design a security system. The issue is the fly by the seat of the pants lack of security with deadline driven products. Those products only appear to implement a feature set and really don't work, just appearing to work in order to achieve the release exit criteria of a minimum viable product. This gets compounded by products hardly ever revisiting their earlier phases, choosing in this case to add new web features instead of hiring a security team.
IANAL, but can't you only sue for actual damages not hypothetical damages? According to this  your identity with SSN is only worth $30 on the black market. To get $1000 out of them you'd probably need to have your identity actually stolen and prove it was stolen from Equifax.
Perhaps reasonably ask for 3 years of monitoring, so $980
But those aren't actual costs incurred yet.
This breach, I suspect, makes that less likely to be true. After all, one of the few reasons a new SSN can be issued to someone who has one is “A victim of identity theft continues to be disadvantaged by using the original number”.
Credit real time monitoring should be an entitlement for those whose data is being collected.
This would cost them a fortune.
Doesn't help for all the other issues this will cause, though.
I guess treble damages are not called "punitive" but they're also not "actual".
That said, I've never tried it, so it's possible my understanding is wrong.
Once in normal court, you would need to hire a lawyer, and they would just find some local representation. At this point, you would probably withdraw the case because it isn't worth that investment.
But suppose you kept going. Their local council is going to proxy their attempts to change venue to where they are located. Unless you had a really compelling argument, they would probably win the change of venue. Now you need to find another lawyer somewhere else, and it is probably an expensive locale like New York or LA where they have a firm on retainer. Still want to push the case? Me neither.
By all means, try the small claims route. But don't think for one second that it is a slam dunk.
Alabama: Must file in municipality where the other party (defendant) resides
Alaska: Easy to move to regular court
Arizona: Easy to move to regular court
Delaware: Cannot be used for punitive damages (basically this)
Indiana: Easy to move to regular court (If I am reading it right)
Michigan: Easy to move to regular court
New York: Must file in municipality where the other party (defendant) resides
Oregon: Basically must file in municipality where the other party (defendant) resides. Easy to move to regular court
You can't even dispute $15/month, since that's how much Equifax charges for their identity protection, so that must be how much it's worth since they caused these damages.
That makes it more like $7200 in damages, not including the cost of money over time, inflation, etc.
For the rest of your life
You could create a system that'd help you file SCC complaints quickly, but to have it detailed enough to pass the defendant lawyer's complaints about the deficiencies in your documents would be difficult.
The size of that problem, however, decreases with the narrowness of the subject matter you want to cover/make claims about. If it were a 'Sue Equifax For The 2017 Data Breach' service, then it might work (the whole point about class actions being that they're similar - commonality, typicality etc - enough)
Corporation or other legal entity — A corporation or other legal entity (that is not a natural person) can be represented by a regular employee, an officer, or a director; a partnership can be represented by a partner or regular employee of the partnership. The representative may not be an attorney or person whose only job is to represent the party in small claims court. An attorney may appear to represent a law firms as long as that attorney is a general partner of the law firm or is an officer of the corporation. However, in both instances, all the other members of the partnership and all the other officers of the corporations have to be attorneys as well.
I sat on a jury in TX where a couple was suing an insurance company, and the insurance company wasn't represented by an attorney. It was really strange, because the first thing the gentleman does is stand up and spend 5 minutes explaining how he isn't an attorney but he regularly represents the insurance company for smaller claims (it was something like $20k IIRC). Then for the remainder of the next hour and a half or so he stumbled around with arguments against the couples slick lawyer. I guess the guy probably lost most of his cases (?) but its worth it to the insurance company to spend a few hundred bucks getting this guy to show up unprepared for an hour or two in the odd chance he could save them $20k every few dozen cases.
I think states usually allow a regular employee of the corporation to appear, though.
Obviously, the small claims court procedures may vary according to jurisdiction, so you'll have to at least check your state's website before running down to the clerk with filings in hand.
It must be a regular staff member or manager.
I did not check how many states have a law like that.
This has all the forms and a link to what to do with them: http://www.courts.ca.gov/9744.htm
Give me a service and I'm ready to pay.
SCC is not hard, it's cheap, and it's designed to be easy to do and not require legal assistance to do so.
There's usually no enforcement of penalties in small claims court.
Don't speak on something if you don't know what you're talking about.
the only difference is a giant corp can simply say "hey sorry we didn't pay earlier" when if a consumer tried to do that we would have more penalties placed upon us.
Whose wages? If you win against Equifax, Equifax isn't getting a wage. Equifax is paying wages, but you didn't win a suit against its employees. You won against the corporation.
place a levy on their bank account
Seems like your best bet. However, this might be complicated, depending on how they've distributed their assets. Quick, can you tell me the name of the bank, the account number and the exact name on the account?
placing a sheriff in their area of business
Seems to me that Equifax might just keep draining your account through continued fees.
submit to a collections agency
I suspect this might be satisfying in its symbolism, but not necessarily effective against Equifax.
Don't speak on something if you don't know what you're talking about.
Seems like good advice.
perpetuating this mindset that the average consumer is too weak to do anything to these corporations and individuals who hurt them through the court system is nonsense and needs to be avoided. From the article posted below (where my other comment is):
"Allen then reported to a local branch of the bank with sheriff’s deputies, who he instructed to remove cash from the tellers’ drawers, furniture, computers and other property. Approximately one hour later, the Naples News reports, the bank manager produced a check for $5,772.88 to satisfy Allen’s fees and additional costs."
You have a lot more power than you think against corporations and people through our court systems. even small claims courts.
I don't know where else they get their revenue from, but free credit protection will hurt them significantly in the long run.
And guess what, the same questions that they ask you to prove you are who you say you are, are the ones that have likely been stolen!
0: Unless your info is actually used in a way that harms you, and you can prove that it was a result of this, but that seems unlikely to be true for the majority of affected people.
(and I would think refusing to accept Equifax's "coupon" for TrustedID would be a similarly easy argument to make)
there's no right to not having your identity not stolen tho. By this logic, shouldn't you _always_ have the identity-theft prevention service paid for already, regardless of what happened to equifax?
I think you'd have to show _actual_ identity theft occurring with your name to claim damages.
If it weren't for Equifax, anyone trying to use your identity would have a much harder time.
Edit: not to mention the worse damage will be from fraudsters taking loans.
The weird thing is the Comcast debt couldn't have actually been mine. As the date of the debt was smack dab in the middle of when I had service with Comcast before switching to ATT.
Now, during this period I tried to refinance my home and was denied due to a low score with Equifax. I pulled my EQ 2 weeks before trying to qualify and there was nothing. Then I found that after I was denied and pulled it again of course. I submitted a challenge on it, and it was removed within 2 weeks but the damage was already done.
So would this count as real damages?
Whether the debt "could have been yours" isn't relevant, what's relevant is how it showed up there. If someone fraudulently signed up for a Comcast account using your social, and they obtained your social via the leak, then yes the leak damaged you. You could go after the difference in your refinanced interest rate now v. what it would have been had you gotten it at the first request (are you paying 0.1% more because rates went up a week after your denial?) and possible the additional interest paid between the denial and the successful refinancing.
But if the Comcast account showed up on your report because someone fat fingered a social and there was no fraud, the leak didn't damage you at all and it was just bad luck.
1 legally guaranteed free credit report / year
* ($5 freeze before + $5 unfreeze after)
* 3 agencies
* 33 more years of healthy remaining life God willing
= $990 right there.
Move apartments or change jobs just once in that interval, and it will bring you up to a round thousand. Bam.
The sad truth is you can do everything right to the best of your ability and still get hacked. So just the fact that they were hacked isn't sufficient evidence that they were negligent.
Also: "I am launching a formal investigation into the #Equifax breach. Today, I sent a letter to @Equifax seeking additional information." https://twitter.com/AGSchneiderman/status/906197644841766912
I looked into credit freezes yesterday. This is really a total scam. You have to _call_ each of the three agencies and pay a fee ($5 to $10) each time. If you need to unfreeze your report to make a legitimate credit application you have to call each of them twice (once to unfreeze and another to freeze) paying fees every time.
Now if you're a paying member (paying a minimum of $15/month to each agency) you can just lock and unlock your credit file on a mobile app (well, three mobile apps and I'm not sure all three support this). It's amazing how convenient things get once they're already extorting you for "credit protection".
This shouldn't even be legal.
Also, if a fraudster defrauds a financial institution with your personally identifiable details, it should be an issue between the agency and the financial institution as you were not a party to this loan. The reporting agency saying you were should be slander.
Financial institutions should be interested in consumers having an easy ability to lock their credit files as it would decrease the number of fraudulent credit applications.
So why can't I have a mobile app (or three) for free that allows me to easily lock and unlock my file or, better yet, to vet every inquiry and approve it or not?
At this point, their lack of basic security practices has endangered national security by weakening the banking and credit systems.
On top of that, this company is massively unpopular. Their only purpose is to potentially slander Americans en masse. Make a fucking example out of them so the rest of the finance industry takes notice.
Not on a whim, but for (e.g., in Delaware) “abuse, misuse or nonuse of its corporate powers, privileges or franchises.” (Delaware Code Title 8, § 284.)
> We have due process and the rule of law.
While rarely used in practice currently (it was more used in the past, and there is a movement to revive the practice), the law provides for charter revocation for corporate misconduct.
Basically, however appalling the unaccountable power of credit bureaus is, it was legal yesterday and it's not the job of either the executive branch or the judicial to decide today that such power isn't legal today. The judicial system especially is oriented towards prevent that kind of thing. Rather, deciding that is the job of (even more dysfunctional) legislative branch.
This, of course, doesn't guarantee that executive or judicial branch couldn't "get religion" and try to get end this situation but it would have it own messiness.
And there you have it - an American legal/government system very much resembling a well built car driven far too long without an overhaul.
But the problem is:
A. If Equifax gets a judgment for close to or for more than the company is worth, the simplest way one could assure the suit is paid to sell the company, keeping the operation going rather than ending it.
B. Many businesses integrate credit checks into their operations - it's ridiculous and despicable as mentioned by other but most of these companies and individuals (landlord for example) at least imagine they couldn't survive without the credit agencies so this large group would push for another solution then just getting rid of the credit agencies.
C. Getting rid of one credit agencies leaves the other two even stronger.
It is also unlikely a $17 billion market cap = $17 billion in assets during an emergency sale. Especially with the shadow of a $17 billion judgement that could encumber the acquired assets.
It's bad business to acquire assets from someone with a judgement against them, unless you're getting a great deal.
If there is a judgment against a company which that company cannot pay, that company enters bankruptcy.
What happens when a corporation enter bankruptcy is the assets of the corporation are assigned to a receiver. The receiver then disposes of those assets with the aim of raising as much money as possible to pay the creditors involved. In the case of a credit bureau, keeping the bureau functioning would arguably be the best way to earn money to pay the individuals who the corporation owes money to - both the people who the got the judgment (first priority), other creditors(second priority) and then the share-holder (third priority).
This situation means that corporation that produces toxic waste, dumps it in a river and goes bankrupt from a private suit against it could continue to produce toxic in order keep producing and making money, in order to pay that judgment (it would probably be argued that the toxic-waste leak was a one-time thing).
Part of the problem is a private lawsuit isn't a substitute for state regulation even if it's often presented as such. Part of the problem is the very worst that happen to the owners, the shareholder, is their shares become worthless so their incentive for stopping truly bad behavior by organizations is limited.
You might say this is fucked-up and I would agree with you. Don't confuse my comments with statements of support for how things. I simply want to thorough, accurate and complete summary of just what a messy we're in.
In Project Mayhem we have no names.
Europe operates just fine without the notion of credit or credit agencies.
Some of the legislative branch dysfunction is due to interference from the same corporate interests they should govern.
Corporations are able to DoS their oversight.
You are correct there will be unexpected messiness. The question becomes whether our current trend is sustainable over the long term; many believe the second order effects cannot be worse than the path we are currently on.
But with the current administration as well as Congress (we're likely to see a Federal gov't shutdown over the budget even though the Republicans control the legislature and White House), I wouldn't anticipate seeing any regulation down the pike because of this.
They mention the Struts vuln, but not which one... did an attacker access the info directly via a naive attack, or was this a campaign? Having worked on Enterprise-Ready(tm) systems I wouldn't be surprised if Equifax had an unsegmented network...
Not yet. People might be annoyed but not many of them have been harmed yet. They're harmed when their identity is actually stolen (i.e. used by someone else), not merely when someone gets access to their data.
(Not saying I like this system. Just saying this it how the system works.)
So this would only work if you can find a clause permitting them to do this. I assume this would be the commerce clause?
In reality 1. You can be shot by a cop even if you do not pose a real threat (they just need to claim they though you might have a gun, simple) 2. People are routinely kept in jail for unreasonably long time because their families cannot afford bail often on things charges are dropped for later 3. Ever hear of civil forfeiture?
The whole thing is a nice story that we love to repeat to each other. Maybe it was easier to accept that during the cold war when the other guys were worse and news traveled slowly (or didn't). It's pretty apparently that isn't true given the quick news cycle... and opening any US history book.
Sometimes I wish I could myself become a corporation. Seams it's much easier to exercise your rights as a corporation.
Yes, a process in which the government has to prove to the same standard of evidence as someone suing you. That is due process.
In practice this is a huge difference.
That's not quite true. They don't make a claim against _you_. They make a claim against the property.
So, it's the same level of evidence and adversarial hearings as someone suing $1,000. This is not due process. It's a farce.
And federal civil asset forfeiture almost always starts out as administrative forfeiture which doesn't involve the judiciary at all.
When the feds seize an asset the owner has 60 days to file a claim. If no claim is filed the government keeps the asset.
If a claim is filed, the government can either pursue civil or criminal forfeiture. In the case of civil forfeiture there is a right to a trial by jury.
However, as I said previously this isn't automatic. The person has to either have the legal knowledge to know how to file a claim, or they need a lawyer. In the majority of cases no claim is filed in many cases because the legal fees necessary to recover the asset will be greater than the value of the asset.
Basically if the government sizes a few grand in cash, it will cost you too much to recover it to make it worth it.
In states like Tennessee, police can seize your cash and you have to sue to get it back. They automatically get to keep the assets unless you sue them. They don't need to convince a jury of anything unless you sue them.
This is not the same thing as a person suing you and then using a replevin action to force you to give up your property. This is like if a person broke into your house, took your TV, and then you were forced to initiate a lawsuit to get it back. Plus you couldn't recover legal fees, it was significantly more complicated and costly than small claims court, and the thief suffered no consequences beyond returning the TV even if they lost the case.
Even Clarence Thomas, the most conservative member of the the Supreme Court, indicated in recent statement that he believes the current way civil asset forfeiture is practiced is unconstitutional.
I'm as emotionally upset as anyone else, but if in fact this was a zero-day, I also lose the basic lack of security practices argument.
If you have the most sensitive information for millions of people, maybe don't only worry about perimeter defense?
Given the number of FS sites running on IBM Websphere and Struts, this may only be the tip of iceberg.
This is what pisses me off - I never gave them authorization to collect information on me. I have no business relationship with these companies. To me they look a lot like parasites even when they're not giving away my data.
yes, I realize that the definition of "coercion" here is complicated and nuanced, but I feel the point stands.
It basically just forces an auth flow for a credit application, which is quite sane. You can also do the whole process - enrollment and manual authorization - online. It was quite painless for me to do it a couple of years back.
Yes, and I think it's a bigger question of why we have so little control over or access to our own data in the first place? It's a racket that they monetize our data by selling it to others, then charge us again to access and protect it. And, if you've ever had to go through the pain of having something corrected in a timely fashion, then you know it's doubly-maddening. They are purposely opaque and byzantine.
Yet, without our data, they'd have no business.
Yet, without credit rating agencies, you'd get no loans.
Loans existed for millenia before credit rating agencies, so that seems unlikely. It's more likely that the people getting the best loans terms today would pay a higher cost for borrowing without credit rating agencies, and that credit references would be more important, though.
Equifax — 1-800-349-9960
Experian — 1‑888‑397‑3742
TransUnion — 1-888-909-8872
It's mildly interesting how different the experience was across the three. Experian gave me the choice between choosing a PIN and getting a generated one, Equifax just gave me a PIN, and for TransUnion I had to choose the PIN (shorter than for the other reports) myself.
You and your wife just did it 1 minute apart...
"You'll need to supply your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and other personal information. Fees vary based on where you live, but commonly range from $5 to $10."
So depending on where you live, you probably have to pay.
I've just been skimming search result for lawyer... You're pretty much the only one actually asking for one...
Edit: well, you have to pay with a credit card so it's traceable, so not that bad.
f no I'm not paying them anything
Federal Law allows a fee, some states have passed laws mandating no fee, or no fee to freeze but a fee to unfreeze, etc
Indeed. This is now no longer something that would be nice to have; it's the only way the system can possibly work. If a credit agency can no longer verify your identity by asking you questions about your history -- the criminals now have all that information -- there's going to have to be another way.
Sounds like a great YC application! Someone should do it!
Also, although they offer 1 free year, the problem here (social insurance number, etc) is a lot longer than that, so you'd be paying a recurring amount, wouldn't you?
Of course, Equifax just gave me a 500 AND charged my card anyway, so that was nice. The other two worked fine though. Equifax is a steaming pile of garbage.
Edit to mention that I only used burner cards for the payments.
"This is not financial advise:
I remember a few commentors on HN recently saying they have made large gains by buying stock of companies after the news of cyber security breaches significantly reduced the share value, then waiting for the dust to settle(reaction-news-cycle to complete) and price to return to similar value after a few months."
Hopefully this time will be different, but I doubt it.
Fees vary by state. I think I paid ~$20 total and not all of them charged me.
(In theory if someone steals money through your debit card you can get it back... in theory. I'd like to avoid ever having to find out how well this works in practice).
They charge interest, but you don't pay any interest if you settle the full balance every month, which I always do.
Most merchants/payment processors include a premium for handling the edge cases that arise from credit-linked misbehaviour. In the same way you sometimes get a cash discount, removing the merchant/provider protections should show up in your wallet as a good (and surprisingly high) surprise.
As I understand it (please correct me), the party who gains for the furtherance of this agenda is the financial service sector who has another opportunity to insert marginal fees and more importantly, a direct access to your transactions without necessarily having the same fiduciary duty or alignement of goals than a bank teller/account manager would have.
FYI. That is a satire / parody site and not the real one.
Doesn't "users" imply that we had a choice in the matter? As if we're Equifax's customers? I feel more like we're victims in this case.
"I checked myself, my wife, you and your brother. To the best of my knowledge none of us have Equifax accounts, but it says they probably got our address & driver's license for all four of us.
I don't want to waste money on LifeLock. What can I do? Just watch my accounts?"
Is Visa, MasterCard, etc. at least partially to blame here for picking a bad solution? My personal ties are not with Equifax, I have no direct means as a consumer to express dissatisfaction. Can I sue Visa? They are they ones (I presume anyway) who did the actual information collection from me, and then it was mishandled.
We need more tools for dealing with data breaches. Things aren't slowing down, and they aren't going to unless something big changes.
Your contract is with your card issuer, who provided your personal information to the credit agencies. But you probably agreed not to sue them as part of your agreement when you asked them to issue you a card.
If you don't want to pay for LifeLock, which I agree is a bit steep, you can usually get an identity theft protection policy from most major insurances companies. The premiums vary, but are usually a fraction of LifeLock's fees. Just be sure you understand what's covered.
I use both of those and it costs me $25/yr total.
You can check the Fair Credit Reporting Act for more information about various parties' responsibilities in handling your credit information. However, I don't think you'd be able to sue lenders/creditors in this case. They are distinct from the credit reporting agency that seems to be at fault.
> They only monitor TransUnion and Equifax data
Where do you see that they monitor Equifax data? I only see TransUnion mentioned.
Of course I told them to get lost and just used another mobile provider, but I learned from this episode that all of these consumer services companies share data both ways with these credit checking agencies.
A) A credit account is not the same thing as a checking account or credit union account
B) Plenty of people, even in the US, operate without any of these things. It's not fun, but it's absolutely possible.
After my company crashed, my wife divorced me and then I got cancer -- things were pretty grim on my credit-worthiness story. Net-net: I went without a bank-account for a few years and learned to live with pre-paid phones, money-orders, cashing checks at pawn-shops and pre-paid debit cards, and (for medical and other reasons - not able to drive. Good news: I saved on car insurance, gas and parking). All-in-all ... not a lot of fun (it's very expensive and time-consuming to be poor in America!).
But! As you say: it is do-able.
Monopolies aren't choices, and monopolies on essential services are coercive by definition.
It doesn't make much sense for borrowers, though. But since, by definition, the lenders have the money and the borrowers do not, the borrowers have no real ability to negotiate when lenders get together and do things like that.
But borrowers can vote just as much as lenders can, which is why such behavior is governed by law. So let's not pretend that borrowers somehow agreed to this system in any way. It was forced upon them, and the best they could do about it is pass laws to ensure that lenders at least had to be accurate when reporting, and had to respond reasonably to disputes. Since lenders can lobby and vote, too, borrowers were not able to mandate that the lenders would have much in the way of legal liability when they inevitably get lazy, screw up, and cause real damages to real people.
The law isn't fair; it's just the best compromise that adversarial parties with differing amounts of money, power, and motivation could reach a threshold level of agreement on. It just so happens that a savvy and motivated borrower can completely whitewash their own credit reports for the cost of a few stamps, and maybe some small claims suits, while an ignorant borrower, or one who lacks the time and energy to ride herd on the CRAs, can get completely screwed. It's a numbers game, and the lenders and CRAs can make more money from the latter category than they lose from the former.
Their announcement says social security, addresses and names have been stolen, this is really worse, this data is enough to do ton of things.
The credit agencies (of which equifax is one of 3) get their info from credit card companies and other financial institutions. If you've ever signed up for a credit card or gotten a mortgage or car loan the information from that transaction was sent to the credit reporting agencies. That's how they get data to make their determination of how credit worthy you are.
If this isn't criminal, then nothing is. If someone doesn't go to jail over this, why the hell shouldn't I just go out and commit fraud on a daily basis myself? It seems to be rewarded in our society...
Because corporations are protected, individuals are not. This is what happens when business(profit) takes precedence over human rights.
There will be no repercussions for those responsible. No changes will be implemented. At best we'll get a public apology, but even that seems far-fetched.
What if A Person were to be born into a corporation and all transactions made by thhem be the corporations actions - if things go south, dissolve the company.
(clearly this is simplistic, but you get the idea)
I want to re-form myself into one of these corporations which has little retribution for actions. I shall pledge 10% of SamStave INC LLC to any attorney on the ~~~prowl~~~ case...
You'll risk losing the assets. If the assets aren't substantial, it's unlikely any landlord will sign the lease with the entity without someone guaranteeing it.
Real world example: I did a summer internship one year and the company rented a few houses for the interns. Myself and 2 college guys were in one. Landlord claimed damage on the air conditioner because it iced over due to not changing the filter...ended up getting money from the company.
that said, the strategy you describe is perhaps workable as a small, close-knit group of reciprocally trustworthy people who leave a sequence of bankrupt corporations in their wake.
it could be a sort of financial lobster: a ring-of-trust which occasionally sheds its corporate shell and then immediately grows a new one.
This seems pretty common with high value items (say pools/AC units/solar installers/etc) providing long warranties. 5 years in, the warranty is worthless because the original company is gone.
I get that consumer protections in the US are not very strong, but this just seems like a shady cartel in cahoots with the banks/insurance companies. Please tell me I'm grossly misunderstanding something here.
See the first segment of this episode of the Backstory podcast for a retelling of how these early agencies worked: http://backstoryradio.org/shows/keeping-tabs-2016/
Like really, equifax saying "his score is pretty good, but he IS a terrorist". Sometimes correcting those things take months.
Your information does not just magically make it into the database of a credit bureau. It gets there via public record or because you allowed a creditor to report it to them. You are more than welcome to find a creditor that does not ask for or report to credit bureaus.
Not trying to justify the existence of credit bureaus but let's not kid ourselves. They aren't sending spies to your house or tapping your phone lines to get this info. You personally authorize a large amount of it.
Because you don't have enough wealth to be immune to the legal system.
Veryifying identity with SSN is broken. The right way is probably more or less how big webapps do it - MFA + a password that the user can reset by providing a bunch of info. The government has the necessary private info to do this in most cases (e.g. DL# plus your income from last year's taxes), and can fall back to "Show up at a police station/DMV/other office and talk to a human" in disputed cases.
I'm sure there are lots of private corporations that would love to be the One True Arbiter of who's who, but none of us would trust them, or want to pay the price. An open source solution (something like Keybase?) seems possible, but not without government backing.
It's an awesome system that the US would be lucky to have. I say this as a dual citizen of both countries.
Please, think before you say USPS... this agency is broken as hell. The last thing we want to do is trust our identities to them.
Only real way to get true identity system is biometrics(Fingerprints,DNA, or Iris) taken at birth. But that will never happen for privacy reasons.
Any secret can be stolen, bio or otherwise. The key to robust ongoing identity is not a better shared secret, it's a better way of recovering from theft of shared secrets. One way is to have a big trove of non-secret-but-not-public data, like prevous addresses and employers (which is how the credit bureaus sometimes authenticate people). Who has more such info to draw from than the government? Another is to use shared info that goes stale quickly, e.g. "What magazine did you get in the mail yesterday?" Again, the government, by virtue of being the government, already has candidate info to draw from.
And what if all else fails, if some super-hacker has stolen or has ongoing access to every single piece of digital information that could be used to authenticate you? If you're a startup or a corporation or an open source project, you throw up your hands. If you're the government, you say "Please visit your nearest police department and bring your photo ID and some utility bills."
The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that this is the only good solution. Like someone else in this thread said, Identity is hard. There's no silver bullet to make it a tractable problem, but you can throw enormous resources at it. And in the government's case, the most costly part (building a brick-and-mortar office in every city, town, village and hamlet in America and staffing it with humans) has already been paid.
But yes, I agree, it's a good point that the government already does this (ditto for lost birth certificates, etc) and this would just be tying the federal identity that they work so hard to verify to a digital one.
I call these what they are: Insecurity questions.
I have also taken to writing completely unguessable nonsense as the answers and recording them in my password manager.
Precheck/Global Entry give you a known flyer/traveler number, which combined with your personal information, authenticates your identity between your travel provider and the government.
Identity is hard.
You can't say that immediately after citing Aadhaar as the "best example" of biometric national identification. There has been massive pushback against Aadhaar for privacy reasons specifically, which just resulted in the Supreme Court declaring privacy to be a fundamental right - something which, incidentally, goes far beyond the approach to privacy taken in the US and Europe.
We have the technology, i.e. certificates, signatures, smart cards, identity federation like SAML.
We got govt + all banks on board with a national digital id. Basically all systems that were considered safe enough such as the major banks online systems (with advanced 2fa) are allowed to issue digital IDs that can be used as logins to all authorities and any other place that needs verified id.
This system probably paid for itself in a hurry.
Is it time for a Federal Department of Verifying
Whether People Are Who They Say They Are?
There is also a disproportionate effect in that a small portion of the 143 million affected will have a large impact, i.e., "identity theft" while most will be unaffected.
I think a fund setup to help those who are directly affected is a better idea. This could be done through government action where penalty proceeds are turned into a fund. In other worse, similar to the BP oil spill in the gulf where the fund helped those who lose income or suffered property damage.
In short, this breach of public "trust" is only the smoking gun that proves how horrible Equifax is. But, they have a long history of being a parasitic organization that will hopefully die soon.
So how do you recover from something like that? Are you basically prevented from using credit for the rest of your life?
Think about it: if every person in america put a freeze on their credit, all of these companies would go out of business because they would no longer have a product to sell. It gets even worse if you're a victim of identity theft because they cannot charge victims of identity theft to freeze or un-freeze a credit report.
I think only solution is criminal charges/jail time against higher ups who prioritized profits over security.
Equifax needs to feel pain so they behave better in the future. Their executives need to be taught that they need to invest in security or it will affect their balance sheet. That will happen even if the payout to individuals is small, just as long as it costs Equifax a lot.
At that point it would be fiscally irresponsible to properly secure this data. They would owe it to their shareholders to continue with their shoddy security and data management procedures.
The risk to the greatest number of people is the increase in interest rates if the lenders do not have the same level of trust in the credit reporting companies.
1% over 30 years is a lot.
Secondly, just taking preventative measures for say 10 years of credit monitoring, from not the company that leaked your data, would cost 15x12x10 $1800.
Keeping my identity/online data safe just seems so hopeless that I don't think about it anymore.
Because right now, it's too easy for them to not care. It's us that suffer the consequences, not them. That has to change.
Until this starts hitting important people in the wallet, nothing will change.
We often question monopolistic behavior with regard to market share and competition for physical goods. However we don't see this type of questioning with regard to data monopolies. Hate to say it that while I enjoy the use of Google and Facebook, they may also fall into this arena. Though with those companies at least an order of magnitude worth of effort MORE is expended on some form of heightened security, communication, and standards primary thru tertiary of their core offering.
Makes me wary of trusting other big OS libraries, but since rebuilding every part of the stack from scratch is infeasible and unproductive, we don't have much choice but to use them.
Severe security vulnerability found in Apache Struts using lgtm.com (CVE-2017-9805):
Also, didn't the Equifax breach happen in May, 2017? If so, I fail to see how the Sept, 2017 exploit plays into this unless it was in the wild months before it was published in Sept, 2017 - which I find hard to believe.
I completely disagree. It is open-source for a reason. If you find a bug in it, fix it and everybody wins. Otherwise, nobody would ever publish any code/software because you would get sued if you did any mistake. On top of that, the software is free. So you basically want to blame some group which gave you something for free which you used to make big money and expect to also sue them for consequences if they made a mistake.
I also feel bad for the engineering team at Equifax. But on the other hand, you have to take into account that any software you employ could have a security flaw in it. That is why you should have additional means to protect it and no single point of failure. And this is especially true if your whole business depends on that data!
edit: spell check
I would have expected this type of data to be stored in such a way that even if someone got access to one of their web/application servers they wouldn't be able to dump 143 million records from it without serious red flags going off.
'Encryption at rest' only works for data that is not actively used, like backups or if a physical storage device is stolen.
A better additional safeguard is to have quotas and alarms in place for data access. Is data being accessed sequentially in a application environment where data is usually accessed randomly? Is data access bound to individual credentials and do indivudals access more data than usual?
I think, there is actually potential for new database products or addons, which can reduce the impact of breaches in the vicinity of these 'core databases'.
ObjectInputStream ois = new ObjectInputStream(input);
MyObject obj = (MyObject)ois.readObject();
This event is leading me to about how social security numbers can no longer serve the role that they have with
establishing trust in identity, although they can continue to be used to uniquely identify a US citizen. This hack may
push markets, and government, to widely adopt biometrics and other sensitive, personally identifiable information.
What won't happen, unfortunately, is the political will to regulate how uniquely identifiable personal information is managed and stored.
Suppose that rather than Equifax, Facebook were hacked. What kind of intelligence and reports does Facebook have on people that would eclipse that of social security numbers and credit history?
I don't think the next world war will be fought with nukes, it will be an economic fight. Leak a few corporate secrets  to stall the economy, use the OPM dump and this Equifax dump to originate enough false loans to seize up the financial sector, then cause havok across the electrical grid  like you did during the annexation of Crimea just to make sure they stay down.
We've been blind to the other half of the threat of centralized information repositories... the 1984 Big Brother scenario assumes the holder of the information wants to control the citizens, but we never considered the information might have leaked to an actor who wants to destroy the citizens.
Biometrics would be a terrible idea. Mass surveillance, anyone?
What if the biometrics were stored on something you have - say a smartcard (definitely not a phone!)? Along with a PIN. Plus, these two items went into a "write only" store on the card (actually, a hashed value of both are stored).
You have a card reader (one at home - and any place you are doing a transaction to confirm identity also has one). You put in your card. Type your PIN. Present your (physical) biometric.
The reader takes the data, passes it to the card (or maybe the card has the reader and pin pad?). The card runs the hashing again, and compares the values. If all is good, it outputs a "Yes" otherwise a "No".
Remember, only the card holds the data (a hashed version) of the biometric and the PIN. That can only be written (you can do this with your terminal at home?). The only output the card has is that "yes/no" value.
All transactions of such nature would be done with this card.
I'm probably missing some steps or such - but the idea is there. That gives a 3-factor authentication system.
Don't expect it to ever be implemented.
1440 tries max if you know the day. 720 if you know if it was day or night. Botnet and/or proxies can do the rest
As far as I'm concerned, they stole my data first, then they packaged it up neatly and gave it to shady persons.
Yes, I'm aware that I "consented" to their collection of my data when I signed up for a credit card, or a car loan, but it's not a system you can realistically opt out of. If I want to rent an apartment or, sometimes, even get a job, I need to consent to a credit pull, so I need to have a positive credit history.
So, we have a private sector monopoly that I am coerced to give my data to, for free, to function in society. Seems like a good business to be in, but as an outsider I'd like to see something drastic happen. Perhaps nationalization, or breaking up of the big three with deep regulation.
*edited to add omitted "three" in last sentence.
I'll watch the outcome of this breach with interest. It strikes me that at the very least credit rating agencies should be non-profit and very closely monitored by government. This will include ensuring security best practice is followed.
As others have rightly pointed out, they even have the audacity to call us customers. Like somehow we turned 18 and signed up for their service. I certainly didn't, and it annoys me that a company whom I have no control over can make or break my credit history.
Tell that to people riding their free class-action credit monitoring from when their OPM background investigation records got leaked to the russians or chinese thanks to the government's "security best practices".
The CRAs don't make or break your credit history, that's the businesses that supply information to them. The CRAs are aggregators, and just report what their members tell them.
You are the product.
The sell this "information" (your identity and more) between businesses looking to establish whether to give you credit or whatnot.
Personal data should be treated with the same care as nuclear fuel. Very very strict conditions.
There is no way to opt out of having your data collected and sold by Equifax, Experian, TransUnion. The power these companies have over US citizens is incredible.
Anyone that's ever tried to remove incorrect data on their credit report knows how painful it is to deal with these companies. Despite dealing and brokering in electronic data to buyers of your credit profile, your interactions with them as a consumer can only occur via paper mail and mailing letters which means weeks or even months for basic communication. They operate like thugs. I hope this is the end of them and by extension the other two agencies as well.
Equifax employs about 10,000 people worldwide. A million small-claims cases has each Equifax employee handling 100 small-claims cases. I don't think they can handle that level of distributed legal aggression. It just takes too much time by too many people, especially if people refuse to settle for anything less than $1000.
Probably the best way to crowdsource it is to go through the process yourself, write a step-by-step guide to what you did, and post the results on social media.
They gave me a date in September that I have to remember to come back and sign up for. It's the equivalent of grabbing a ticket in the deli line.
Look at this text:
"Please be sure to mark your calendar as you will not receive additional reminders. On or after your enrollment date, please return to faq.trustedidpremier.com and click the link to continue through the enrollment process".
That's enraging. You tell me I'm affected and now I have to come back at some date/time and sign up? At least it has given me the time to read all the comments about waiving class action participation.
At what point do we finally tell abusive companies like this that they're no longer allowed to be a company?
I cancelled my Equifax credit watch account about 5 months ago, when they decided to raise rates.
Never have I hoped so much for a business to be sued out of existence. And hopefully their inside traders will get jail time (yeah, right).
" Based on the information provided, we believe that your personal information may have been impacted by this incident."
It then had some button, I forgot what the button said. This led to the screen about "save the date" for protection.
You can check if you're impacted then just not proceed to click "enroll" and be able to check without auto-enrolling and agreeing to their 1yr protection + arbitration agreement.
There is now plausible deniability for so many things.
IIRC, there wasn't even a clickthrough and they framed it as "find out if you're affected." How could that be enforceable?
... Regardless of whether your information may have been impacted, we will provide you the option to enroll in TrustedID Premier.
I really hope this puts Equifax out of business.
I am not a lawyer.
No idea how ironclad such a clause would be,k though.
Really scummy behavior.
> If you choose to enroll, that is when you waive your right to join any class action lawsuit.
> No Class or Representative Arbitrations. The arbitration will be conducted as an individual arbitration. Neither You nor We consent or agree to any arbitration on a class or representative basis, and the arbitrator shall have no authority to proceed with arbitration on a class or representative basis.
Further detail from an actual lawyer in this comment:
It's high time to set an example. Equifax should no longer exist as a company. People responsible should end up in jail. Company executives should be held personally liable. Some would claim it is unfair, but the only way to keep this from happening again and again is for those responsible to face serious consequences.
"Data is a Toxic Asset" https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2016/03/data_is_a_tox...
- potentially every one of the 143M people are going to have some sort of trouble
- WORST CASE equifax shuts down, but that doesn't matter. too late.
- if everyone was to win a lawsuit for everything equifax is worth, they'd get maybe $100 minus lawyer fees.
And worse, now we have a financial system dependent on 2 companies. Making a 3rd isn't an easy matter.
This whole industry needs to be turned upside down.
Would be interested in hearing other opinions on what's being said there, especially regarding using the www.equifaxsecurity2017.com site and legal rights.
There's no need for anyone but the customer and Credit Card company itself to retain the actual credit-obtaining-number (other than to allow future purchases with permission, which is the rarer case, often needs to be prevented not facilitated, and doesn't excuse Equifax having more than a reference number.)
Yet the credit card companies don't do this. Why not? 'Cause humans are idiots, all of us, that's why.
PS - run to the patent office and you might be able to make a ton of money patenting this, since patents are now given to whoever shows up at the patent office with the appropriate fees first. Precedence doesn't matter. You would be implying that you thought the idea up independently, of course, but you're smart, right? That's totally the sort of thing you could think of independently. Then when you're rich, you too can help choose what the patent laws look like, and whether rich people should pay taxes.
I've been caught up in the DOD breech, this Equifax incident and a couple smaller ones. I'm not interested in pinching pennies here; I want good results.
A bunch of class action lawsuits might make options like Move to Amend a lot more palatable to corporations facing that kind of scrutiny. It also gives political capital to organizations working to prevent rollbacks on consumer protections implemented after the Great Recession.
If Equifax's reputation hangs on a single hack, then they probably weren't that reputable to begin with. Why should we have to live under decisions that benefit them when they no longer exist, or weren't even who we thought they were?
And then, I hope all of the other agencies take note, and start deleting their data.
Short answer: We won't.
Nothing is likely to drastically change. It'll just be another blip on this week's news, and on to the next big thing that comes up.
Some individuals, over time, will likely have their lives screwed with, but because not everyone at one time will have this happen to them, nobody will care.
Think about how long the EU and others had chip-and-pin for their cards. Also, everyone knew it was more secure. But it's only been in the past 6 months or so that the United States is finally getting it - and it isn't everywhere yet.
I'm not trying to say chip-and-pin would have helped this situation (it wouldn't have). I'm just trying to convey just what kind of social and political inertia is at hand here in the United States, not to mention the size of our collective apathy, and extremely short attention spans.
Had something like this had happened in the 1970s or 80s - heads would've rolled. 60 Minutes would have been all over it. Dan Rather would have frothed at the mouth. It would have been crazy to the extreme in the media and elsewhere. Change might have even occurred.
Today? We'll be lucky if we're still talking about this in any amount next Friday.
This company has already caused harm to literally everyone in the US. Minimally, we all now have to take action to attempt to avoid identity theft. And it only gets worse from here.
And these bastards have the chutzpah to wait until hurricane Irma is upon us to make the announcement.
Multiple steps must be taken for nowadays people to get credit card and debit card or whatever(loans, money transfer,...). Use SSN, name, mother maid name, a few security questions, two-step authentication by default, all passwords must be hashed and salted otherwise it is a crime for the DBA,etc.
Just switched away from 15+-year-yahoo-email after its leakage, now it comes Equifax, which is 1000x more critical, it is so bad.
Wait, what? Isn't this a blatant example of insider trading? Moreover connected to a problem they are responsible for?. Do they seem to be really that stupid or is there a chance that they could get away with that in the end?
I'm left with the conclusion that they were either negligent or incompetent, or layers of management were actively trying to cover things up.
If guess for subscribers they could get more information than publicly accessible. What fraction does it represent?
edit: Was the analysis of the hack published?
Go ask any security guy if they think their environment is secure. Very few of us will say yes. It frequently boils down to we ask for things, and there are budget/manpower/time limitations in getting them implemented.
So a breach occurs, execs say to IT staff "Why was this possible."
IT staff says "We requested back in <month> to fix this, and its working through the slow process"
Execs say "Why didn't you scream louder, identifying it as a critical issue"
IT: "There are 1000's of other issues, just like this one. The attackers just managed to exploit this one, instead of one of the others. We can't identify all issues as critical, because then nothing is critical."
Both parties stay frustrated thinking the other isn't doing their job right.
Edit: people never seem to like it when I say this. The phrase "the buck stops here" has a meaning.
Is there some public record I'm not aware of that says Equifax underspent on cybersecurity? Or is this lawsuit just a shot in the dark hoping to hit a target?
I wouldn't be surprised at all if the allegation is true, but AFAIK there's no way these individuals actually have proof of it, and it seems like a flaw in our legal system that people are allowed to make allegations like this without any type of proof.
Both of these are Good Things. One of the most important things our legal system provides is opportunities for remediation when something goes wrong.
Like many other people I decided to use this because of the breach, I went to the government identity theft site and found some links.
Equifax - Fill out the form. "Additional information required" please mail stuff to us.
Experian - In your state (washington) there is an 11 dollar fee for this service.
Transunion - Fill out a signup form, complete with god damn security questions. Do the quiz about stuff on my credit report. 10 dollar fee.
Go fuck yourselves you fucking bastards. I hope experian goes out of business because of this, I really do.
Has there been any real discussion about alternatives to the present system? How else could authentication work for opening a bank account?
I imagine that the present system survives (1) because of inertia, and (2) because it doesn't require much infrastructure and so it's relatively cheap.
Maybe the next step is something like putting a chip into driver's licenses and ID cards nationwide?
Read "The Art of the Deal.|"
Equifax still hasn't revealed any data about how it was hacked, without that information it's hard to prove they were negligent.
Negligence requires three things: duty, breach and damages.
As to duty:
Does Equifax really owe a duty to every single person whose data it keeps. That would be a tough argument to make. They didn't sign any contract or make any agreement with the people whose data they collect. So where does the duty come from?
Even if the plaintiffs were able to overcome that hurdle, they would then have to prove breach. Was Equifax careless in they way they handled information security? I don't see evidence of that, the mere fact that they were hacked doesn't necessarily mean they were careless. All Equifax would have to show to win on this count is that they had some sort of basic security system in place comparable to what other businesses it's size have in place. My guess is that they do have a security system and that this probably wouldn't be hard for that to show.
Being hacked would be considered under law to be an intervening criminal action. It is established that people are not responsible when damage is caused by someone else's criminal action. So long as Equifax took basic, prudent steps to protect data, they can't be held responsible for intervening criminal action.
As to damages
It's hard to see how anything of monetary value was lost by the plaintiffs in this case. There was a loss of privacy, but I haven't heard of courts giving out awards for that sort of loss.
I'm sure people more familiar with information security could point to flaws in they way Equifax protected info. And certainly the way they reacted to the hack was negative. But bad or imperfect behaviour doesn't in and of itself give rise to a claim for monetary damages in court. This case doesn't seem winnable to me.
There is some argument that if you use Equifax's identity theft protection you may be able to sue, which I think is what this class action is about. But that still doesn't give rise to damages because none of the plaintiffs can prove that their identity was actually stolen. And you still don't have breach (no proof that the hack was the result of Equifax's carelessness).
I imagine that the firm will take 25-50%.
Also, Equifax will likely just go bankrupt vs. paying 4x what they are worth.
Perhaps we should seek to have the company turned over to the people, at which point a blockchain based credit system can be implemented.
We probably need more competition in corporate credit agencies as well like Moodys/S&P that got us into the housing crash.
The lock-in deals these companies have make them get really lazy on their core tasks.
Next time you apply for a loan or open a credit card, ask them who they report this too. If it's Equifax, walk away.
Equifax responded they didn't know about the breach and it is unrelated.
Well, it is convenient to access everything by Internet.
But it is a double sword
Simple but not too simple!!
You can enter any arbitrary word and any random six digits and it will tell you that you probably have been affected, and will prompt you to sign up.
Don't fall for this scam.
I take some mild comfort knowing that > 90% of US adults likely have been impacted (wild guess at US folks who have ever applied for credit -- or it's probably a good amount smaller number if the scope is ever-requested-a-credit-report).
You are their _product_. And, in my experience, they treat their product like shit when their product gets his identity stolen.
I'd put it closer to 75% max.
Everyone else, call your representative.
You know how people say, "Pictures or it didn't happen?"
Call your representatives and tell them what you think, or it might as well have never happened.
First of all, let me tell you I'm a lonely curmudgeon with no social life and about 1.5 friends. HN functions for me as a crude surrogate for socializing, in addition to its functions as a place to read about cool stuff, and yes, occasionally, a place to pop off and talk a little trash. I do try to contribute good stuff.
So understand that I'm being sincere when I say, thank you for taking the time to read through my comment history.
I also want to say that I do my best not to troll, and when I fail and people call me on it, I admit the mistake and apologize.
I was trolling you a little bit there in the other thread and I apologize.
Now then, as to leaving out the worst bits I don't think I can oblige you. In the first place, because my comments are sincere. I don't always phrase things in the nicest way, but I have a real point to make with a given comment or I would omit it. In the second place, what is the "decision algorithm" for "best" vs. "worst"? My point is, what you or I think are my best/worst comments may be totally different from what the next person thinks. I have had one comment moderated by dang once (and I was really embarrassed that he had to do it.) Other than that I pretty much stand by what I've said. There are a few comments I would delete if I could but that bird flew the coop long ago.
Consider the old saw about advertising, "Half of your ad budget is wasted, the problem is, no one can tell you which half."
That said, I take your comment to heart and I'll try to be less cranky on HN.
But I stand by the comment I made above (for example): Apologists for computer INsecurity make me sick. It's far past time to fix this mess. Related to that, the people who says "Oh I give a crap." but don't call their representative or something like that are basically part of the problem. If one person read my snarky shitty comment and made the call, it was worthwhile. As for all the people that read it and didn't pick up the phone, I want them to know they suck, just a little, because I'm mad at them. In fact, I'm mad at most people. We stand at the pinnacle of history. But everyone is busy driving and talking on their cellphones at the same time while meanwhile the Monarch Butterfly is going extinct right before our eyes! There may not be elephants in fifty years.
Okay, that's enough of that. Gotta calm down. ;-)
Now about that other thread, where I was kinda trolly, my point there was that Rational Materialist fundamentalism is still fundamentalism. I am a rational materialist. Physics is the "Word of God". Nevertheless, I have had personal experience that indicates that physics is contingent on consciousness. I'm not going to be able to offer any sort of scientific proof of that because the structure of the Universe precludes it. But it's true. It is a true statement that cannot be proven. Not even in theory.
There are hard limits to rationality, that a rational person must take account of to be rational.
Consider: you're hanging out somewhere discussing rationality, when suddenly into the room bursts a Mad Logician! He's got a bomb and he shouts, "Do something irrational right now or I'm gonna blow us all to kingdom-come!" What do you do? If you start hopping up and down on one foot that's irrational, but to do so to prevent the ML from detonating his bomb is rational! Maybe if you ignore him he'll just go away.
It's Russell's Paradox.
This sentence doesn't describe itself.
These words have no meaning.
My quip about the square-root of two was meant to point out the fundamental nature of irrationality. Pythagoras is said to have killed the first guy to point out that two and the square-root of two are incommensurable. The "rational space" is a subset of the real space. There will always be places on the map marked, "Here be Dragons".
(Also, if you call shamans con-men be sure to make sure that none of them can hear you. ;-)
Here's to many more long-enduring quality comments.
(It blew me away when I realized that computer text isn't writing! English is so well served by ASCII, and has been since so early on, that the assumption that bytes are the same as writing just gets lodged in there, unexamined.)
The kind and amount of information warrant strong regulation in the way the data can be stored and processed (separate monitored networks not reachable from the internet would be the absolute minimum), governmental regulation needs to ensure the security of sensitive personal information like this and regular checks need to be conducted to ensure their adherence, especially in the case of a breach like this after the fact, you can't rely on the company conducting a forensic investigation.
But no of course not. I can already hear Americans preach to me how the free market is great and solves all your problems.
This sort of nationalistic flamebait (pro or con, doesn't matter) breaks this site's rules. Would you please read them and follow them when commenting here?
On HN we're hoping for at least a slightly higher standard of civility than is common on the internet. Given how strong the forces of polarization (of all kinds) have been as of late, that's something we need everybody here to pitch in with.
A lot of us here are engineers and coders. It's our responsibility to design better architecture, security conscious protocols and write securer softwares. And it's up to all of us (regardless which country you are in) to voice up and resist the idea of weakening encryption or allowing backdoors and instead advocate for adopting better and more securer encryptions to safeguard private and sensitive personal information.
I think we can significantly improve the situation though with increased data collection laws, and then also more cryptography. Equifax shouldn't have all that data in the first place. A lot of the reasons that companies need data (besides machine learning) can be covered with cryptographic arguments that exclude the data itself.
For example, cryptography exists that would allow me to use my driver's license to prove to you that I am over 21, without ever actually showing you my real birthday or name. You could be 100% convinced that I both have a valid ID and that ID indicates that I am over 21 without learning anything more than those two facts.
If you can do things like that, you can make it illegal for companies to hold more sensitive information. If there's a big data breach that loses sensitive information, the company at fault can be charged for illegal data collection.
I know it's a big step from the data driven world we currently live in, but I think it's the only way to avoid a scenario where pretty much all details of every person's life (including politicians, secret agents, military figures) are public knowledge. We're just collecting far too much data, putting it in far too many places, and it's technologically infeasible to protect all of that.
The very fact that all this data was accessed from their public site is very troubling. What's the chances this is a basic SQL injection issue? What's the chances they didn't invest in security at all?
What makes you think lack of investment in IT & security is the main reason they get hacked?
Vice versa, NSA has virtually unlimited (let's just say unlimited means tens of billion dollars) budget invested in IT and security. They have the top resources there too. Do they immune from data breaches and being hacked? The answer is a big NO!
Hacking humans is quite often the easiest point of entry.
This is inexcusable in 2017. Hacking humans may be easier but it's up to Equifax to figure out how to mitigate that risk. "It's hard" doesn't excuse their behavior.
However this is not an excuse for Equifax to not put more focus and investment on their security.
Sure, nothing is totally secure against a dedicated, motivated attacker with unlimited resources. Thankfully those are few and far between.
Based on that Equifax has said that this doesn't seem to be the case.
People pay credit rating agencies to retrieve their credit reports, get credit scores, and open disputes, and the best way to do all that is online.
An excellent example is how many companies are in panic mode right now to get GDPR compliant before next year. There's a lot of security engineers and developers that finally get the budgets and time they've asked for to improve customer privacy, because the potential fallout of non-compliance is too big to ignore.
If it isn't a solvable problem then we need to start talking about getting this data off the Internet.
If you're really so terrified of the government that you're against security regulations for the website of one of the largest credit card information collectors in America, then you deserved to be hacked too.
The problem lies in that security and efficiency have been historically at odds with each other.
This is what inspired us to work on bringing a novel data security technology from the University of Harvard to the market: www.f-lock.ca . Essentially we are allowing for querying functionality, while achieving homomorphic-level of security.
Would love to connect with any people here who share the same vision!
1. Collect the minimum amount of information you actually need
2. Hash and salt the data you store
3. Tell the people the truth about what happened to their data within a reasonable time
These are all things that can potentially be enforced.
my point being, without guidelines, or regulations, or some sort of security rating standard, managers will continue to make these mistakes.
I think there's a few things that could be done:
1. Invalidate all SSN numbers.
2. Force people to get a new ID card; make it like the smart-card passport card (or make people get such a card). That becomes your ID and number.
3. Getting that card requires you to be present physically for fingerprinting. Put the fingerprint data on the card, and no where else.
4. Make regulations that only allow for loans to be done in person - no more mailings, nothing online - if you want credit, you have to show up in person.
5. To prove who you are: Fingerprint, your card (with picture - and fingerprint data on the card), plus your pin number. Essentially chip and pin identification, with a fingerprint scan (and maybe a face scan too).
6. Make it so if you want to do online transactions - or any transaction for that matter - you must provide all of this. Basically, at home, a card reader that can read the chip, allow you to enter the pin, scan your fingerprint and face, and if all of that matches what's on the card, then an "acknowledgement" is sent.
Essentially the above would implement a 3-factor auth. I am not saying the above is perfect (I am absolutely certain I have screwed something up there - but the basic idea is what I am trying to convey), but we essentially have to do a clean break away from all current ID and credit/loan/payment systems - and move to a system that introduces a TON of friction.
Physical Presence (Something you are)
Physical Token (Something you have)
PIN (Something you know)
And all the data about "who you are" (face scan, fingerprint) stored on the card (hashed of course) only, no where else. Basically - the card, your presence, and your knowledge all have to be present, and the card's processor authenticates you.
And these factors need to be presented each and every time you do a transaction of any sort involving money or identification.
And no online or by-mail signup for credit. That should be done in physical form only.
Finally - allow for at-will changes of the PIN, and yearly a forced change of the PIN.
The problem with the above, though, is many-fold. It would be extremely costly - for everyone. It is also (seems in a way) draconian. But something of the above nature would need to be done, post haste, if we wanted this to go away.
And basically not allow any kind of storage of credit information or whatnot by -any- entity (and I am not sure how that would even work or if it could). Maybe all they have is a hash value and your name, and the card can generate that hash value as "authentication"/"identity" - but you have to have everything there (you, card, pin), and only the card holds the information, and only generates a hash.
I dunno - but again, this is the idea. I'll leave the details to people smarter than I on these things.
I don't expect something like this to be ever implemented, though. One would think this breach would do it, but it won't.
Usually reserved for criminal cases, not civil ones.
> regulation in the way the data can be stored and processed
> regular checks need to be conducted to ensure their adherence
> I can already hear Americans preach to me how the free market is great and solves all your problems.
Please quote me the "solve all your problems" source.
Is this not? If that's the case I need to get out of this dumpster fire of a country.
I can tell because criminal cases are prosecuted by the state; civil cases are prosecuted by private parties. (And class action is always civil.)
But by all means, move to somewhere less dumpster-firey where large businesses and governments don't get hacked.
1. I assume the FBI is investigating the hack itself (who did it, etc.). Citation?
2. I assume the SEC is investigating the suspicious timing the executives who were selling stock before the announcement. I'd also assume it could turn into a criminal investigation. Cite?
3. The class action suit is a civil action asserting that Equifax was negligent (that's what the Bloomberg article that these comments are currently pointing to is about).
4. There could be criminal negligence in securing their networks. It seems like that could be either of a Federal or state issue. Anyone know if this investigation would take place with the FBI, or if there is another federal agency which would take the lead on that?
It's too early to know anything for sure about the breach and certainly holding pre-made assumptions prevents a more level headed, careful analysis of the facts.
That being said, I agree that on the face of it, this is pretty damning evidence that regulations were either not in place, or were not verified to an acceptable level.
Interestingly, Canada's financial industry is also mostly self-regulated which has always struck me as a foolish model.
Selling stock the day before the news makes these guys seem like absolute criminals, but (a) it's not what happened and (b) the soundbyte doesn't represent what is likely the case.
- Breach happened between March - July 2017
- Breach detected July 29th (A Saturday)
- Executives sold stock August 1 (A Tuesday)
- Breach announced September 9th (5 weeks later)
From the company's own statement, which you can BET was vetted by a lot of attorneys:
"Equifax discovered the unauthorized access on July 29 of this year and acted immediately to stop the intrusion. The company promptly engaged a leading, independent cybersecurity firm that has been conducting a comprehensive forensic review to determine the scope of the intrusion, including the specific data impacted."
I would bet, dollars to donuts, this is just terrible timing optically for the executives.
What is much more likely reality is that they detect breaches on a regular basis, and until the forensic team came back with the bombshell - likely many weeks later - of the scope of the data loss, the executives were not even informed.
They make them shout over and over "MANAGEMENT ALWAYS LIES, MANAGEMENT ALWAYS LIES, MANAGEMENT ALWAYS LIES".
That scene took place in the early 90's, and I can't imagine anyone thinks it's gotten better in regards to the ethics of top management, their understanding of technology, or their desire to participate in insider training.
I don't see anything exonerating in the timeline you described. You are making assumptions here that could excuse the executives if they were true. These are nothing but assumptions though.
Your hypothesis is predicated on the fact that you trust their timeline, and make assumption that type of events could have occurred within each groups at Equifax on those days..
Difficult to prove, but I too suspect it’s just bad timing.
Note that the three executives sold relatively small portions of stock: 13%, 9%, 4% of their respective personal holdings.
Do we know that there aren't? Would it be public knowledge if there was an investigation?
It would be pretty stupid, considering how easy it would be to get caught, and to avoid a mere ~14% decline on your share value?
Yes, people can be stupid and greedy. I guess we'll see if this applies to these execs.
That should be the execs' punishment for the stock sales.
Also, technically speaking, this company sucks.