Experian Customers Unsafe as Hackers Steal Credit Report Data

Instead of directly targeting the big three credit bureaus, data thieves often target affiliated businesses that utilize credit background checks. When hackers broke into computers at Abilene Telco Federal Credit Union last year, they gained access to sensitive financial information on people from far beyond the bank’s home in west-central Texas. The cyber thieves broke into an employee’s computer and stole the password for the bank’s online account with Experian Plc, the credit reporting agency with data on more than 740 million consumers. The intruders then downloaded credit reports on 847 people, taking Social Security numbers, birthdates and detailed financial data on people across the country. The incidents shed new light on security weaknesses at credit bureaus at a time they are under investigation by both houses of Congress over how much data they collect and how it’s used. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said, “This is profoundly important because it illustrates a growing problem when it comes to data breaches and security-the chain is only as strong as its weakest link,” adding, “If their customers have inadequate security practices, so do the credit bureaus.”

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