Experian reports another breach of its credit report database (update 2)
I haven’t been seeing as many breach reports by Experian this year, which could be a good sign, although it just could be that some states haven’t updated their breach lists in while.
In any event, one just showed up on New Hampshire’s site that elevated an eyebrow.
In a letter dated September 16 signed by L. Mundy, Vice President, Regulatory Compliance, Experian writes that between August 26 and August 27, consumers “may” have had their personal information accessed, including name, address, Social Security number, and/or account numbers. I’ve never understood why Experian’s letters of this kind underscore “may” when their cover letter to the state says that they are notifying residents of “unauthorized access” (as opposed to “possible unauthorized access”). Whenever I see Experian write to consumers that their info “may” have been accessed, I’d like to ask “Why don’t you know for sure? Don’t your access logs show whether a consumer’s report was accessed or not?”
In any event, Experian’s letter states they had identified that “its client, Defense Contracts South FCU, had certain Experian consumer information accessed without proper authorization.” Experian is working with Texas-based Defense Contracts South FCU and law enforcement to investigate.
Experian’s letter, taken in the context of approximately 100 letters of this kind that I have seen them send in the past, suggests that someone may have compromised Defense Contracts South’s login credentials to the database.
What surprised me a bit was Experian’s offer of two years’ complimentary enrollment in ProtectMyID Alert. That was not their typical offer in the past. Whether that means that they think this breach may be more serious or whether they have just changed their incident response plan is unknown to me.
Update: This breach was also reported as affecting 6 Maryland residents.
Update 2: Okay, so Experian did have at least two other incidents as two breach reports from July and September have been added to Maryland’s breach tool. In these cases, though, others were able to successfully authenticate as the consumers sometime between June 21 and June 24 in the first case and July 2 to July 29 in the second case.. Once again, the letter tells the consumer their information “may” have been accessed without authorization. Why doesn’t the letter ask the consumer whether they gave anyone their information to access their information? Perhaps some these letters should read, “If you did not authorize someone to access your information between June 21 and June 24, then we regret to inform you that….” In both cases, affected consumers were offered two years of free credit monitoring, so that they may just be their routine response.