After any major breach, the entire security community clamors to weigh in. The headlines are filled with advice and suggestions as vendors advocate for their solutions and consultants push training. The response of breached companies is almost always the same: they offer free credit monitoring. I have plenty of thoughts on why that is ineffective, but the short version is that this approach is like putting up a sign saying that a bridge is out… behind you.
Predictably, the usual advice is offered about strengthening passwords, utilizing two-factor authentication, and the like. But what you really need to do to protect yourself from the effects of a breach depends on what information was revealed. Whether password lists, account names, credit card information, personal identifiers, financial information, or personal information, each of these can lead to different kinds of attacks that require different defenses. In light of this, I suggest a change that anyone can make, which is particularly relevant to the Equifax breach but is also generally effective. So, in addition to the methods listed above, I suggest taking advantage of one of the most effective and durable tactics: lying.
There are three kinds of attacks enabled by the Equifax breach. First, the financial and personal information can be used to open fraudulent lines of credit. The best defense for this is a credit freeze at all three credit reporting bureaus. Second, the financial information can help attackers target high-value individuals for other kinds of scams or attacks. For targeting, a combination of anonymity and paranoia are your best bet. Finally, the information exposed reveals details about the victims that are often used in security questions. This brings me to my point about lying — to avoid losing personal information via security questions, lie about the answers.
Read the full story...