Over 147 Million People Affected By Equifax Data Breach

EquifaxRepercussions from Equifax’s data breach in the summer of 2017 still affect people today. Equifax, as their website states, is a global information solutions company that uses trusted unique data, innovative analytics, technology and industry expertise to power organizations and individuals around the world by transforming knowledge into insights that help make more informed business and personal decisions.

The company, being one of the largest credit bureaus in North America, serves millions of people. The breach which occurred between May or June of 2017 affected close to 148 million customers.

Equifax claims the information accessed in the breach includes names, social security numbers, birth dates, and driver’s license numbers. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in a federal probe investigation stated that passport information also was included in the information accessed, however Equifax refutes this claim.

Equifax states they found out about the breach in July of 2017, yet they did not report the incident to the public until September 2017. Their first public announcement on their official website claimed that 143 million customers were affected.

Following the official announcements, Equifax created a website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, for affected customers and posted Tweets stating that there are resources for people affected. However, Equifax repeatedly Tweeted the wrong website address causing many people to insert information into insecure sites.

Tweets Customer Service

 

wrong tweet

A month later Equifax released another statement saying another 2.5 million customers were affected. In early March of 2018, Equifax again released a statement saying another 2.4 million people were affected.

Shortly after the initial announcements, the executives of security as well as the CEO of Equifax retired or stepped down.

The investigation into the data breach and whether the company had proper preventative measures to protect customers information is ongoing.

The data breach is one of the largest in history. Customers, investigators, and the public ask questions regarding Equifax’s security protocol and their commitment to protecting their customers information.

Response

What are the limits that companies need to go in which to protect their customers information? Should companies be held legally or morally responsible for information of customers that was lost in a security breach or hack? Did Equifax handle publicizing the security breach to their customers and the public well?

[Sources: CNN, Forbes, The Washington Post, TheSlate.com, Equifax]

Heineken Pulls “Purposely Racist” Ad Amid Backlash

Heineken recently pulled an ad for a low-calorie beer that some, most notably Chance The Rapper, said was “terribly racist.” In the ad (shown above) a bartender slides a bottle of Heineken Light on a bar past three different black people before it arrives in front of a light-skinned woman. “Sometimes,” the ad said, “lighter is better.” Chance took to Twitter, telling his followers “I gotta just say tho. The ‘sometimes lighter is better’ Heineken commercial is terribly racist omg.” He went on to accuse the company of “purposely putting out noticeable [sic] racist ads” in order to attract attention and gain a larger audience.

@chancetherapper

In a statement the company said “while we feel the ad is referencing our Heineken Light beer, we missed the mark, are taking the feedback to heart and will use this to influence future campaigns.” The ad has since been pulled globally.

Of course, as Chance himself suggested, his criticism gave the ad (and the brand) much more additional exposure. Writing in The Atlantic in response to the controversial Pepsi Kendall Jenner ad, Ian Bogost said that such “mistakes” may attract far more attention than non-controversial ads. In the end, Bogost said, “the commercial probably had a much greater effect even though it was technically pulled than it might have had otherwise.” As proof that such flubs aren’t necessarily a bad thing, National Public Radio reported that the day after the controversy broke around the Heineken ad, the company’s stock price went up, not down.

It may be hard to believe that such mis-steps are intentional. But what if they are? And what can be said about how short-lived these controversies are? Many thanks to #jmcawesome alum Maria Watson for the tip.

[Sources: The Atlantic; Heineken USA; The Independent; National Public Radio]