• 44% of US population affected by Equifax hack
  • Hackers took names, birthdays and addresses, Social Security and driver’s license numbers
  • Steve Mnuchin concerned about the global financial system and keeping it safe,
  • Hacks is a reminder of the vulnerabilities created ina connected world
  • Cyber security is a major threat to both banking and financial industry
  • Investors should hold physical gold as insurance against hacking and cyber attacks

Last week 143 million people woke up to the news that a data breach at Equifax has left them wide open to financial and identity fraud.

Readers will have no doubt read about the hacking of credit bureau Equifax. Not only were they slow to deal with the issue but three senior executives (including the CFO) sold almost $2 million worth of stock prior to alerting customers to the security breach.

This is the third time in sixteen months that Equifax has been hacked. It is the umpteenth time there has been a data breach at a company that holds financial and personal information of its customers. Each time millions of people’s data and livelihoods has been put at risk.

‘Have no doubt: This means you will be hacked. This means your SIM card will be spoofed. This means someone will try to get into your email and online accounts. This means someone will try to open a credit card in your name.’John Biggs, Tech Crunch.

Equifax is yet another example of incompetence on the part of data-heavy company, with little recourse for customers affected.

Cyberattacks are continuously evolving into incidents that are relentless and unforgiving. In the last 25 years the sophistication of hackers’ tools has improved.

This recent attack puts the Yahoo breaches of 2014 and 2015 in a rather dim light in comparison to the harm caused by Equifax hackers.

2017 has almost proved to be a coming of age year for hackers. So far this year we have already had the biggest ransomware outbreak that saw data breaches at the NHS, FedEx, Telefonica and Deutsche Bahn.

It is now inevitable that something like this goes on and that we are no longer surprised by it. Why is it happening and what can we do about it?

Why is this happening?

Governments and banks want everything to be digital from online accounts through to digital money. This not only saves them money but also helps with their knowledge about us and means they can continue to print cash without us paying too much attention. They share our information with one another and use this for their own advantages.

As customers we don’t mind this so much because the majority of the time an interconnected world makes our lives easier. It helps us to travel, it helps us to apply for mortgages, it even helps us to book a hotel room with just one click.

The cost of this easy life is the growing threat of hacking. Our entire lives are available to be seen by those who (if they really want it) can get access to it.

We trust these governments and companies not only with our most personal of information but also that they will protect it.

But this is a trust that is not respected by so many organisations.

When it comes to Equifax, customers did not ask them to eat up and store all of this data about them, just for it then to be sold onto marketing companies. It is not the customers’ fault that this data was not kept secure.

Equifax is just one headline in the last month regarding hacks. TechCrunch warns us about a few more:

Hacker group Dragonfly has penetrated operational networks of energy companies that control power grids in the US and Europe, which could allow them to disrupt utilities to hundreds of millions of people

An indefensible vulnerability in all modern cars could let attackers affect sensors, airbags, and anti-lock brakes.

Hackers penetrated voting systems before the 2016 presidential elections, but local officials weren’t warned and the systems haven’t been properly investigated for malware or alterations since.

Hackers are fooling mobile carriers into letting them change the phone associated with a phone numb