Taking out student loans is pivotal for this generation of college students to pay for their education.
Student loans are only one of the few different kinds of transactions that can build up one’s credit portfolio. A credit portfolio is a record of credit transactions and provides potential lenders and employers a credit score that can influence a student’s interest rate on future loans, such as mortgages, and chance of being hired by an employer.
Which is why it is concerning that many of LCCC students could be the victim of a massive cyber breach on a company they most likely never heard of before, Equifax.
Equifax is one of the three major private credit reporting businesses along with Experienne and Transunion.
As most college students start their credit journey with their student loans, most are unfamiliar with the three major corporations that control all of their personal information such as their social security number (SSN) and driver’s license, and make the majority of their profit by selling this information to business and banks.
Presently, the suspected number of people’s portfolio compromised by the breach is around 143 million people; about half of the entire U.S. population. This means a 50 percent chance of someone having hackers access to all of their personal information.
“I think it’s a bigger deal than most realize. Unlike breaches in the past that targeted credit cards, the significance of Equifax is that hackers now have access to information like your SSN which they can do much more damage with then a credit card,” Huber explained. Huber also said that he believes that while the breach may feel over for most, there are most likely many more years to come involving this story.
The breach occurred in an age where people can also find anything about a person from various social media pages such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
According to Huber, “People freely put out their information on pages like Facebook, very sensitive information; information a social engineer would love to have.” For Huber, the breach is symbolic of the way our society treats its own personal information in the age of the internet.
In terms of security, many would look to third party credit monitoring companies like LifeLock to secure their information but Huber would advise against it as information that was compromised at Equifax is the same information in LifeLock; making them a target of a future breach.
According to Huber, the best solution to the Equifax problem is simply freezing your credit. While freezing your credit on Equifax is a good first start, it would be advised that freezing your credit with all major credit reporting companies is the only to be completely sure about your information being safe.
An option that directly to the pages of each company that allows you to freeze your credit was created by the HBO host John Oliver after he ran a segment about the breach on his show The Last Week Tonight Show.
The show’s twitter tweeted the direct links to all three companies’ websites that allow students to freeze their credit.