Equifax’s hack checker is a scorching mess — here is what to do

Sharon Profis/CNET

From the time Equifax found its database was breached to the day it publicly introduced the hack, six weeks handed. The corporate was doubtless making ready for one of many worst knowledge breaches in American historical past, together with the creation of a instrument that lets anybody discover out in the event that they had been affected by the hack. 

That instrument, nevertheless, would possibly want a test of its personal. 

The best way it really works is: You enter your final identify and the final six digits of your social safety quantity. Then, Equifax offers you considered one of two outcomes: 

  • Equifax will let that you could have been impacted.
  • Equifax will let you weren’t impacted.

One thing will not be fairly proper with the outcomes, although, as ZDNET’s Zack Whittaker found. The instrument offers random outcomes, even for fictional names and social safety numbers. I examined this myself with the final identify “Hellomoto” and a random string of digits. Seems that the particular person with the final identify Hellomoto was not impacted. 

One other Twitter consumer tried a random mixture, which returned outcomes of a doable impression. 

Is Equifax’s instrument utterly ineffective? The random outcomes recommend that it may well’t be totally trusted, because it would not return errors for bogus entries and, in some circumstances, confirms that made-up individuals had been affected. Equifax has already revised its instrument as soon as to supply extra clear outcomes (it beforehand did not explicitly inform customers they had been impacted) however could possibly be additional improved — or fastened. 

At this level, we recommend that any particular person with a credit score historical past take motion as in the event that they had been affected. Meaning watching out for indicators of identification theft and taking additional precautions, similar to freezing your credit score and setting fraud alerts. Here is our full information to the way to deal with the scenario.

Now we have reached out to Equifax for remark and haven’t but heard again. 

Editor’s be aware, Sept. 9: Revised to mirror that Equifax made adjustments to its instrument, however did not handle the bogus entry situation. Additional clarified what occurs when bogus entries are used within the instrument. 

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