Holy Smokes! It’s hard to imagine heads won’t be rolling soon – and it will be with good reason
Equifax, one of the country’s three largest consumer credit reporting firms, has been in the recent news for getting hacked and fumbling the confidential financial info of a whooping 142 MILLION AMERICANS.
However, the extent of this scandal – rating a “10” on a scale of 1-10 – and the non-stop greed profiteering of the disaster is absolutely breathtaking.
But you will miss the details of what went dismally wrong, and how it will affect you, unless you catch this hard hitting interview with Missouri economics professor and white collar criminologist Dr. William Black. Jim
“The experts in cybersecurity say on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is the worst, that this is a 10, and it’s almost comically bad. It’s another demonstration of our family rule that it’s impossible to compete with unintentional self-parody, and that’s certainly what the executives of Equifax have demonstrated in this scandal…
“First, this is the third major breach in about two years, so they had plenty of warning that their security, cybersecurity, was incompetent, and they obviously didn’t fix it. Second, they now say that the breach began in May and that they didn’t detect it ’til July, while they were, as you said, stealing at least 142 million people’s worth of data, probably multiple times. Along the way, by the way, they said proudly, ‘Ah, but there was no breach of our core system.’ Before you ever get to the core, 142 million customers are thrown under the bus. God only knows what the core is. Presumably their own personal data is what they consider the core.
“Once they did discover, finally, the breach, the very first thing that happened, you mentioned part of it, which is three senior executives sold roughly $2 million-ish in shares, including the chief financial officer, who they’re now claiming wasn’t told of the breach. Now, this would be the number-two person, typically, or number-three person in the entire corporation. If they didn’t tell the senior ranks about the breach, when they discovered one of the largest and most destructive breaches in history, you know, well, you can choose to believe that. No one else does.
“On top of that, there was also an immediate … in the same time period that these senior executives were selling their stock, there was a massive increase in sales of stock options compared to the normal for Equifax, and that almost certainly was again because people had been tipped about what had happened in the breach…
“Right, and again this is the point, is all of these things have massive effects on the entire population, or virtually the entire population, but they’re secret, right? There is no real regulation of these matters. There’s nothing that really forces these companies to be honest with us about the scope of the breach and the risk that they have now inflicted upon us. That is outrageous, but it is again not just the norm. It’s becoming virtually the only situation that exists…
“… you read a publication like ‘Wired’ about this, and it gives you the steps it suggests to take. Maybe 2 percent of the population would do that. We can’t fix this if we put the onus on 142 million Americans to become computer-literate and credit-literate and such. It will never work, so don’t let’s be pushed towards, “Well, you know, you should have taken care of it because, hey, I took care of it, and so screw the other 140 million people that were left unprotected.”
“Again, to do that, you’re going to have to actually have regulatory disclosure requirements. You’re going to have to have an office at the federal level that is in charge of investigating these kinds of breaches, like when a plane crashes. Find out what the hell happened, publish it, so that people know and draw generalities in terms of here are the kinds of exposures to look at. Even if you breach a company, they should never be able to come away with the crown jewels as they did at Equifax, much less the crown jewels on 142 million Americans.”