Credit-monitoring company Equifax Inc. suffered a security breach that could affect up to 143 million people in the United States, as well as expose the “limited personal information” of an undisclosed number of Canadian and British Equifax users.
Equifax did not indicate the number of Canadians/British that could be affected or how, and Equifax Canada spokesperson Tom Carroll said the company is not providing any further information on the impact of the hack in Canada.
Based in Atlanta, Equifax is one of three major credit bureaus in the United States. Between May and July of this year, the company stated that cyber-attackers exploited a U.S. website application to access files which contained the personal information sought by the hackers.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, this is a 10 in terms of potential identity theft,” said Gartner security analyst Avivah Litan. “Credit bureaus keep so much data about us that affects almost everything we do.”
Names, addresses, birthdates, social security numbers and drivers license numbers were all among the information obtained. Equifax said its core credit-reporting databases don’t appear to have been breached.
“This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do,” Equifax CEO Richard Smith said in a statement. “I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes.”
For more information, and to find out if you have been personally affected, you can use the website www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, which has been set up by Equifax. The website allows users to verify if their information was potentially affected, and helps them sign up for the free credit-file monitoring and identify-theft protection offered by Equifax in light of the breach.
NOTE: Some people are furious about the site’s functionality, and it includes an arbitration clause, which means that people who use the site waive their rights to a class-action lawsuit.
While SolidTrust Pay was not affected by the attack, events such as these serve as a reminder to always employ best security practices. We suggest that users update passwords and use a password manager, delete old accounts with personal information if you are no longer using them, and follow our 10 steps for better internet safety!
The hackers responsible for last week’s globe-spanning ransomware attack have made a public statement for the first time since the attack.
The group responsible for #NotPetya have allegedly surfaced on the deep web with a statement offering the decryption key to all files encrypted by the ransomware they unleashed from Ukraine last week.
The post was first picked up by Motherboard after the group used the Bitcoin wallet associated with the ransomware to make a small donation to the Tor-only announcement service DeepPaste, which is where the message appeared.
The message makes a request for 100 bitcoins, which is over $250,000 in today’s market.
According to The Verge, “the message includes a file signed with Petya’s private key, which is strong evidence that the message came from the group responsible for Petya. More specifically, it proves that whoever left the message has the necessary private key to decrypt individual files infected by the virus.”
There was also a link to a chatroom included in the messages. During an interview conducted in the chatroom, someone claiming to be one of the malware authors told Motherboard that the price was so high because it’s for the key “to decrypt all computers.”
Motherboard offered the unknown group an individual file that had been decrypted by the malware and asked them to send it back decrypted as proof that they had the decryption key. The unknown individuals in the chatroom were unable or unwilling to decrypt the file.
Some are still convinced that this attack has nothing to do with money or ransomware.
“This is a fear, uncertainty and doubt case,” claimed the founder of Comae Technologies Matt Suiche in an online chat with Motherboard. “This is a clear attempt from the attackers to try to further confuse the audience by changing the wiper narrative into a ransomware one again.”
A massive ransomware campaign has been identified on June 27, 2017, and is currently unfolding worldwide. The attack has been dubbed “NotPetya” by Kaspersky Lab and other experts in the field who state that, in comparison to earlier versions of the Petya malware, this new variant has major differences in its operations. Bitdefender Labs confirmed in an update earlier today that the ransomware uses the NSA’s EternalBlue exploit to propagate.
If you’re unfamiliar with ransomware, it’s a pretty simple concept. Cyber-criminals and hackers develop a tool or program which, upon gaining access to a targeted PC, will close off access and encrypt the files of the target. The administrator of the infected target will not be able to access anything unless they pay a ransom in Bitcoin, which is the USD equivalent of $300 in this case. If the ransom isn’t paid, the malware may destroy all of your files — or at least never allow you to regain access to them again.
If your computer has been affected by this most recent ransomware, your screen will look something like this:
While Ukraine’s government, National Bank, transportation services and largest power companies are bearing the brunt of the attack right now, and some experts have speculated that this might be a politically motivated attack against Ukrainian infrastructure, there are also notable reports of the virus springing up across Europe and even in parts of the US.
This is just seven weeks after one of the largest ransomware outbreaks in history, WannaCry, swept the globe and wreaked havoc on airports, hospitals, schools, businesses and personal laptops in nearly 100 countries.
As mentioned by CNET, “WannaCry was supposed to be a wake-up call for people to update their computers with the latest software. But it appears people just forgot about the attack and went on with their lives.”
As described by Microsoft, some of the ways your PC can be infected by ransomware include:
- Visiting unsafe, suspicious, or fake websites.
- Opening emails and email attachments that you weren’t expecting or from people you don’t know.
- Opening malicious or bad links in emails, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media posts, or in instant messenger chats, like Skype.
At SolidTrust Pay, one of our top priorities is security. While we are at very little risk of being affected by this recent outbreak as a business, we are certainly concerned for our users and merchants. We encourage anybody who is reading this to follow the steps laid out by Microsoft on protecting your PC against ransomware attacks.
Knowledge Base Guide:
Two-factor Authentication via the Authy Desktop Application
What is two-factor authentication?
2FA is defined by Authy as having something you know paired with something you have. For example, you likely have a bank card, and in order to use your bank card, you must have a correct PIN when completing transactions. The bank card is something you have and the PIN is something you know. Together, the card and PIN makes for a great two-factor authentication system, which in return protects your money. Authy is used in the same way when you want to use an exchanger or do a Bitcoin withdrawal. Your electronic device is the object you have and the 2FA password is something you know.
Why should I use Authy?
Authy is an alternative way to setup the two-factor authentication. It is commonly a choice for users who cannot or do not want to install a 2FA application on a mobile device.
What is required in order to use Authy?
• A mobile phone/device that is capable of receiving text messages
• A personal computer or tablet
• Google Chrome as the default browser
• A SolidTrust Pay account
How do I install Authy?
1. You can start the Authy download by going to https://authy.com/download/
*Reminder: it is important that you are using Google Chrome to setup Authy; no other browsers will work.
2. The option for desktop will be the second white box, as shown below:
3. Select ‘Get it on Google Play’
4. Once the button has been selected, a page will pop-up. It looks like this:
5. Select ‘Add to Chrome’, located in the upper right-hand corner:
6. Select ‘Add app’ when prompted:
7. The page should change and will show that Authy has now been added to your Apps in Google Chrome:
8. Follow the on-screen prompts when you click on the application. Authy support can be found at https://support.authy.com/hc/en-us if you are having issues with the application itself.
How to enable the 2FA on your SolidTrust Pay account
1. After Authy has been installed, login to your SolidTrust Pay account and go to ‘Security Zone > Two-Factor Auth Settings’:
2. Once on the next page, please read all of the information. You can ignore what is inside of the red box (see below) since this information is for 2FA on a smartphone. Once you have reviewed the entire page, select ‘Start Two-Factor Authentication Setup’:
3. Select ‘Send SMS Confirmation Code’. If you are not receiving the text message, please contact Customer Support at https://support.solidtrustpay.com/
4. Enter the number provided in the text message you received. After, you will then select ‘Enable Two-Factor Auth’:
5. The next page will have the manual setup code (see Figure 1). You will then copy the manual setup code into Authy (see Figure 2).
Figure 1 – Locating the manual setup code.
Figure 2 – A view of a manual setup code in Authy. Select ‘Add Account’ after entering the manual setup code.
6. After the account has been added, choose a logo and provide a name for the account in Authy (see Figure 3). After, select ‘Done’ to close the box. Another box will pop up (see Figure 4) with the account you have added. Select the account and the 2FA password will appear (see Figure 5).
Figure 3 – Selecting a logo and naming the account
Figure 4 – Close the box once your account has been added
(Figure 5, below)
Figure 5 – A new box appears after closing the previous box. Select the account and the 2FA password will appear. Copy and paste this where the 2FA password is required.
*Reminder: the 2FA password changes every 30 seconds. Insert the 2FA password in time after you have copied it or it will not work!