SALT LAKE CITY -- Equifax discovered a data breach on July 29th, but hackers had already been in their system since May, which was plenty of time for them to learn a lot about 143 million people.
“A lot of personal identifying information like name, date of birth, social security number, address and phone number and what not,” said Sgt. Jeffrey Plank with the Department of Public Safety's State Bureau of Investigation.
Utah has taken a proactive approach to cyber security with a model other states are starting to follow. Instead of relying on federal agencies to handle all cyber crimes, state investigators team up with them to tackle everything from national security to cyber fraud.
“The key to it now is not only being able to go after the bad guys that are doing this, but also create a deterrence that didn’t exist before," said DPS Commissioner Keith Squires.
Squires said it is all about prevention, and while Utah is leading the way in cyber security, it is still up to you to stay safe.
“No matter sometimes how much we trust that our information is protected, it can be vulnerable," Squires said.
DPS has four tips for everyone:
- Change your password and change it often. Make it complex with numbers, letters, and special characters. Do not use the same password for everything.
- Enable 2 step verification on your email. Plank called email a "treasure trove for identity thieves."
- Monitor your checking and credit card accounts frequently.
- Look into establishing a credit freeze and credit monitoring.
“The credit freeze will actually prevent you becoming a future victim of a cyber crime," Plank said. "The monitoring simply will tell you that you were a victim of a cyber crime."
If you are worried you may be a victim of the Equifax breach, you can safely check here.