Season 2 of the podcast takes an in-depth look at the 2017 Equifax breach, which exposed the personal information of 145 million people—nearly half of all Americans. Names, social security numbers, birth dates, home addresses, and driver's license numbers were captured in the attack.
Hosts Bob Sullivan, author and NBC News technology correspondent, and Alia Tavakolian, co-founder and chief content officer at Spoke Media, take a closer look at Equifax’s business model, its history of consumer rights violations, and mistakes that contributed to the breach. They speak with consumer rights advocates, IT security experts, technology reporters, and white hat hackers, to uncover what went wrong and why.
You’ll learn about the early days of credit reporting, unfair industry practices including racial and socioeconomic profiling, and why Equifax re-branded in the wake of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Additionally, you’ll hear about technology mismanagement before the breach, how it could have been prevented, and the impact of Equifax’s lackluster response.
Equifax in the hot seat
As you may have heard, Equifax CEO Mark Begor was grilled in a hearing last week last week by freshman Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Katie Porter, with the latter pointedly asking whether Begor would be willing to publicly share his address, birth date and Social Security number. And, a protester mocked former Equifax CEO Richard Smith during his testimony, appearing in the audience wearing a costume that resembled the character Rich Uncle Pennybags from the board game Monopoly.
Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters proposed a sweeping set of changes to how credit reporting firms collect data on consumers and repackage it for lenders to gauge a borrower's creditworthiness during the hearing.
In a separate filing, Equifax revealed that it has received legal notices related to the breach from the Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the New York Department of Financial Services. The United States Securities and Exchange commission has also issued a subpoena, and the company has been named in 19 class action lawsuits in courts across the country.
We are excited to present Season 2: The Equifax Breach. You’ll learn what went wrong and steps you can take to protect your personal information. This time around, we'll be dropping six shorter episodes, released weekly.