The Equifax hack
Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
20 September 2017
Equifax waits six weeks, blows its brand promise
Data breaches suck. No one appreciates it when hackers break into a company and retrieve your personal information. Then you change passwords, cancel credit cards and monitor any suspicious activity. It’s worse when it happens to a company like Equifax.
As you know, Equifax, one of the United State’s primary credit reporting agencies, suffered a data breach on July 29th of this year. As if that was not bad enough, Equifax waits six weeks before notifying the public. Nearly half of the US population’s social security numbers, driver’s licenses and other personal data were exposed.
Six weeks? How can a company whose brand promise is “fair credit reporting” wait six weeks to report a hacking? Were they hoping no one would notice? Was it a fear of a lawsuit? Anyway you look at it, it was cowardice.
Equifax waiting six weeks before reporting the hack pisses me off
Credit reporting agencies are great assets to businesses lending money. These same agencies are also great assets for people to monitor the integrity of their personal information. It is a brand failure when the information these agencies have comes into question. It’s a catastrophic failure when a company like Equifax intentionally withholds news of the hack. By doing so, it misleads those who rely on the truthfulness of the information.
“My expectation was that, in the event of a hack, Equifax would immediately notify me.”
How can consumers trust the credit agency, now? Equifax is so interwoven in credit reporting that it will live. It along with TransUnion and Experian are really the only games in town. Make no mistake, however, this is a huge problem for Equifax. It will cost it customers and a good bit of money.
As a brand company, we know brands experience problems. The lesson is that, when problems arise, proactively fix them. Be transparent about them to your customers.
Part of brand loyalty is the consumer predicting the behavior of a brand. I understand companies are susceptible to hacking. (Hell, some intelligence suggests the 2016 presidential election was hacked.) My expectation was that, in the event of a hack, Equifax would immediately notify me. Much like my expectation would be, if someone is fraudulently using my personal information, I would be immediately notified.
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