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In light of the Equifax hack, a look at better alternatives to social security numbers

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Thursday, one of the three big credit report companies Equifax said the stored users data was hacked.

The cyber attack may have compromised 143 million American consumers, putting their personal information and social security numbers at risk of identity theft. Credit report agencies are particularly vulnerable to massive data breaches, since they tend to contain a comprehensive package of identity information. Using the names, addresses, and social security numbers stolen from Equifax, thieves could impersonate consumers with lenders, potentially ruining the credit of the victim. In recent years, attacks have prompted many data companies to find alternatives to social security numbers.

There are other forms of identity available: IRS has an unique tax-filing number for identity theft victims, a company named Threat Metrix offers an identity based on one’s digital footprint, even Equifax provides a digital ID for its users.

But how far are we in applying these alternative identities on a federal level? Which one of the solutions out there provide the most secure protections? Host Larry Mantle sits down with Avivah Litan, analyst and cyber security specialist at Gartner Research, to talk about the future of online identity.

You can visit the Equifax site to check if your information has been compromised.


Avivah Litan, vice president and analyst in Gartner Research

Eva Velasquez, President/CEO at the Identity Theft Resource Center, a nonprofit focused on educating the public on issues revolving around identity theft and cyber security