Equifax Data Breach Case Study

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The data breach has far-reaching implications for the security of privileged information of an organization or an individual. The advancement in technology has resulted in increased cases of security breaches in many organizations. For instance, Equifax data breach has been one of its kind in the world's history. The incident occurred in 2017 and had devastating impacts on the organization as well as the customers (O'Brien, 2017). Therefore, the purpose of this essay is to discuss various aspects of a data breach as exemplified by the Equifax case study.

Descriptions of the Breach

The Equifax is an American-based company which operates as a consumer credit reporting agency with an extensive customer database. The unfortunate event occurred as a result of the actions of the hackers compromising the company's database system with over 143 million customers (Cowley, 2017). The incident significantly exposed the affected individuals to risks including vulnerabilities of personal information, for instance, credit card and security numbers, home addresses as well as other sensitive informational data. The hackers used the identification numbers of the clients in filing tax returns, claiming medical expenses as well as originating new credits card using pseudo accounts (Cowley, 2017).

System Attack and Methodology

The criminals mainly leverage the perceived areas of vulnerabilities within the security system of the company in committing such a financial fraud of insurmountable impact. For instance, in the case scenario, the attackers mainly exploited the system application weaknesses on its CVE-2017-5638, Apache Struts. The hackers took a considerable period before gaining sufficient insights to commit the fraud (Cowley, 2017).


Therefore, it is imperative to note that advancement in technology presents numerous challenges, especially in the management of database systems. Equifax data breach incident is a wakeup call for reviewing various aspects of management of databases as well as response to corporate cyber security threats in the future.


Cowley, S. (2017). 2.5 Million More People Potentially Exposed in Equifax Breach. New York: New York Times.

O’Brien, A. S. (2017). Giant Equifax data breach: 143 million people could be affected. New York: CNN Tech.

September 11, 2023
Subject area:

Information Systems

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