Equifax announced today that it was hit by a cyber security incident, potentially impacting 143 million consumers in the U.S. According to the company’s press release, “criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files.” The “information accessed primarily includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses… [and] credit card numbers.”
After news of the breach broke, Equifax’s stock price dropped five percent. This is directly in line with a recent Centrify-commissioned Ponemon study, which found this to be the historic average on Day One. Moreover, Equifax’s stock price dropped 13-14 percent the day after its breach became public. The long-term impact will likely be greater, as this breach impacts millions of consumers who trust Equifax with their most personal information, and trust is at the core of their business. Based on its severity and the sheer numbers involved, a breach like this will displace consumer trust, and potentially wipe out additional value quickly.
The truth is a data breach can negatively impact a company for years. Just look at Yahoo. A U.S. judge recently said Yahoo must face nationwide litigation brought on behalf of over one billion users who said their personal information was compromised in three massive data breaches. Equifax’s stock price falling five percent is just the beginning, and should serve a wake-up call that companies need to start tackling cybersecurity now.
Data breaches are a very real business with bottom line concerns. Today’s cybersecurity is not secure, as it’s far too easy for hackers to access corporate networks via exploits including excess privilege, password capturing, etc. In order to avoid financial and reputational ruin, organizations must rethink their approach to security.
CEOs, CFOs, CMOs and CIOs need to be at the forefront of tackling cyber security challenges and protecting employees, customers and partners against cyberattacks. It’s time to raise the bar for security, and that starts with killing the password.
Enterprises need to implement a platform security solution that protects identities as they access applications, endpoints and infrastructure – both on-premise and in the cloud. The next dimension in security is about protecting the user, implementing multi-factor authentication and leveraging machine learning to stop threats in real-time.
It is time for enterprises to rethink their security. If they do not, they will end up paying a hefty price, both immediately after a breach and for quarters to come.
Learn how to protect your organization and rethink security with our e-book, “Rethink Security: A Massive Paradigm Shift in the Age of Access.”
*Editor's Note: This blog was updated on 9/8/17 at 9:50am to reference Equifax's stock price dropping further.