By Madison Thompson —
U of L employees experienced an Equifax information hack last tax season. More than 80 university employees reported fake tax returns filed under their names, and 750 employees were notified of suspicious activity. Personal information like social security numbers were also obtained by the hackers.
Added protection by Equifax was implemented when the hack was discovered, and no U of L server seems to be involved. Whether or not enough is being done to protect faculty, staff and student information is the question.
A hack of this magnitude raises red flags and something more needs to be done. In reality, more should have already been done to keep the systems up to date.
First, the system should’ve undergone more frequent system tests. If the systems were being checked frequently, a hack like this probably wouldn’t have taken place.
A bank isn’t left unsecured or unguarded, so why should the cyber world be any different?
The systems of password protection and updated software needs to be trustable for the users. U of L faculty and staff shouldn’t have worry about their information being hacked.
This year, as an added precaution, hard copy W-2s will be mailed to U of L employees. It is a better way to protect information, reduce fraudulent claims and protect employees.
Though it’s a step in the right direction, it doesn’t entirely solve the problem. Technology is constantly evolving, so system updates need to be performed more often.
At the time, the system was believed to be safe. If it isn’t broken, it doesn’t need to be fixed, right?
From a business perspective, it makes sense not to pour resources into a system without problems. However, this is a trap businesses and companies can fall into if they become complacent and precautions are not taken.
Everyone does enough until it’s not good enough. If a company knows they can slide by with the bare minimum, the temptation is too great. Corners get cut and, before too long, the system is challenged and the users suffer the consequences.
This is evident through the recent widespread Intel hack announced publicly at the beginning of January. Intel is the core processing chip found in essentially every computer, even Apple. This means nearly every computer, through this flaw, could potentially be remotely hacked.
Though the Intel software and hardware are being altered to prevent hacking now, the chip has possessed the same flaw for years and only now has been detected. Perhaps the same can be said about the Equifax system. The problem only presented itself after a select few decided to test the barriers.
We live in a technological world. Almost every account requires a username, password and a half-dozen security questions for the safety. This does not protect users from phone calls, spam or phishing emails meant to obtain personal information.
Hacking is a part of technology and always will be. As long as we heavily rely on technology, hackers will try to obtain information.
Software can be updated, passwords can be changed weekly and precautions can be taken, yet nothing will fully prevent hacking in the future. The only thing we, as technology users, can do is take proper precautions and pay attention to our accounts for abnormalities.
File Photo / The Louisville Cardinal