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Statement on the Equifax cyber incident

Created:  09 Sep 2017
Updated:  16 Sep 2017
Update to the NCSC statement on the Equifax cyber incident.

Equifax has tonight confirmed that around 400,000 UK citizens have been affected by the recent Equifax data breach.

At this moment in time, password-related data does not appear to have been involved in this breach.  As a result the NCSC does not believe there is a need for UK citizens to reset their passwords on other services.

The main risk to UK citizens affected by this data breach is that they could be on the receiving end of more targeted and realistic phishing messages. Fraudsters can use the data to make their phishing messages look much more credible, including using real names and statements such as:

'To show this is not a phishing email, we have included the month of your birth and the last 3 digits of your phone number'. 

These phishing messages may be unrelated to Equifax and may use more well known brands. It is unlikely that any organisations will ask their customers to reset security information or passwords as a result of the Equifax breach, but this may be a tactic employed by criminals. The NCSC guidance on protecting yourself from phishing still applies.

Usually, if you are the target of a phishing message, your real name will not be used.  However, in this case, if fraudsters have your name, people will need to be extra vigilant around any message that purports to be from an organisation they deal with - especially when there are attachments or links which take people to sites asking for more personal information. 

Fraudsters may also call. If you do receive a phone call that is suspicious - for example by asking you for security information - do not divulge any information, and hang up. You should then contact the organisation the caller claimed to be from – never using the details they provided during the call.

The NCSC, with Equifax and partners including the ICO and FCA, continues to examine this incident and should further information come to light about the extent and nature of the impact on the UK, we will provide further updates and advice as soon as we can. 

Further information

Members of the public can report a cyber incident using Action Fraud’s online fraud reporting tool anytime of the day or night, or call 0300 123 2040. For further information visit www.actionfraud.police.uk.

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