The enormous hack at Equifax has been termed as one of the biggest data breaches in the history of corporate America and since September when the hack became public, more details have emerged about the massive loss of important private information.
It’s estimated that the private information of nearly half of the American population was affected by the breach and reports are now indicating that nearly 11 million driver’s licenses may have been compromised.
A report on the Wall Street Journal indicated that 10.9 million licenses were breached. The report went on to note that this was not a surprise given the poor security practices used for securing the data. Driver’s licenses are more or less a ubiquitous form of ID issued by various states.
The licenses are used on many occasions for the purpose of verification and there’s no doubt that Equifax may at some point have required its clients to provide this kind of identification document.
The seriousness of this breach has already been elevated to high levels with Congress already taking note. Former Equifax CEO Richard Smith has already appeared in front of a house committee to explain why such a huge breach happened. Although the driver’s license is not exactly a form of personal identification, if someone else has this information, it makes it very easy for them to impersonate you.
After all, there are various information pieces that are on the driver’s license that can be used in verifying sensitive transactions. For example, if a bank requires you to put the last four digits of your social security number as a form of verification, or perhaps you are required to put in your mother’s maiden name, this information could also be out there and anyone could easily use it for whatever reason they want.
With this kind of breach where we are talking about nearly 11 million exposed driver’s licenses, countermeasures, of course, must be put in place to prevent any abuse of the stolen information. For example, websites and other services that are using driver’s licenses as their primary means of verification should stop this with immediate effect. But of course, there’s no law that compels these websites or services to do this.
They may continue to use the license as a primary means of verification but what you can do just to be safe is to report your driver’s license as stolen. Although it’s not a physical kind of stealing where you lose the physical license, as long as the license’s information has been copied and posted online then your license loses its value.
You can also get a brand new driver’s license. This would cost you a small fee. In Washington, the cost of renewing the license is just $20. You will get a new number and you will be secure. The aftermath of the Equifax hack is slowly unfolding though and who knows what we might learn next.