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Notre Dame biz professor discusses Equifax data breach

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- “This is really, really serious,” said Professor Timothy Carone, of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. “This is one of the biggest – it’s not, by volume, the biggest breach. But it effects over half the country. And it’s not just your credit card or username and password to a website that were stolen, it’s people’s entire credit history.”

Credit reporting agency Equifax announced Thursday that 143 million people could have had personal information stolen by cybercriminals between May and July.

“I deeply regret this incident,” Equifax Chairman and CEO Rick Smith said in a video released on YouTube. “And I apologize to every affected consumer and all of our partners.”

Carone, in a Skype interview on Friday, said that this breach means your address, bank account, credit card information, and mortgage information could be out in the open right now.

He said credit agencies like Equifax gather more information than you may even know about, which makes this breach extra dangerous.

“Almost every piece of information about your financial and your personal lives are contained in these credit histories,” Carone said.

He said you can’t control whether or not a breach like this happens, but you can take steps to protect yourself.

Carone recommends you change your username and password, for things like online banking, every 30 to 45 days.

He said you should use ‘two-factor authorization’ software, which sends you a text or email to confirm it’s actually you logging into something.

And if it’s available, Carone said you should use fingerprint or retina detection for an added layer of security.

He said taking these steps makes it more difficult for a cybercriminal to gain access into your information.

“If this breach doesn’t convince people to change habits, then nothing will,” Carone said.

If you have trouble keeping track of usernames and passwords, you can use apps like 1Password to safely store them.

For more information about Equifax’s breach, you can click here.

And to check if you were impacted by the breach, you can click here.

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