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In the miles and points game, we often talk about the importance of your credit score. Your credit score is vital when it comes to getting access to some of the premium credit cards in the market. We often discuss some of the best ways to keep your information up to date and secure. However, what happens when the credit bureau that keeps all of our information gets hacked? The DOJ’s announcement details today pertaining the the Equifax hack that exposed the data of almost 145 million Americans.

Equifax Hacking Scandal in 2017

The Equifax hacking scandal quite rightly caused panic. It was a massive breach that exposed the personal information of hundreds of millions of Americans. Information like social security numbers, names and birth dates,

As per this report by Wired, the DOJ was categorical and clear when it delivered the indictment.

“This kind of attack on American industry is of a piece with other Chinese illegal acquisitions of sensitive personal data,” US attorney general William Barr said at a press conference announcing the charges. “For years we have witnessed China’s voracious appetite for the personal data of Americans.”

The report delves into more detail of the modus operandi of the hackers.

The indictment also details how the PLA team allegedly set up 34 servers across 20 countries to infiltrate Equifax, making it difficult to pinpoint them as a potential problem. They used encrypted login protocols to mask their involvement in those servers, and in at least one instance wiped a server’s log files every day. They were effectively ghosts.

Investigation

This detailed report by Dark Reading sheds light on how investigators cracked the case before charging the four military members.

“This investigation started with minimal evidence — no more than 40 IP addresses for servers located through the world and a handful of malicious computer programs. The hackers tried to hide the origin and the location of the Internet traffic using servers around the world to infiltrate Equifax’s network. But their attempts to cover their tracks failed.”

Investigators were able to link the attack to the four Chinese intelligence agents by analyzing network logs and forensic images of hard drives and reverse-engineering the malware used. In addition, the FBI “obtained legal process to create a digital footprint linking the hackers to the intrusion.”

DOJ Release

The indictment names the four Chinese Military officers who have been charged: Wu Zhiyong, Wang Qian, Xu Ke and Liu Lei. You can read the full press release by the DOJ here.

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