WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department says four members of the Chinese military have been charged with breaking into the computer networks of the Equifax credit reporting agency and stealing the personal information of tens of millions of Americans.
Law enforcement officials say the four are also accused of stealing the company’s trade secrets.
The defendants are all members of the People’s Liberation Army, an arm of the Chinese military.
The case comes as the Trump administration has warned against what it sees as the growing political and economic influence of China, and efforts by Beijing to collect data on Americans and steal scientific research and innovation.
Equifax CEO Mark Begor recently said in an interview with CNBC that the company is attacked daily, "which is why we’re investing so heavily in our data security and transforming or technology to make sure the security is the strongest out there.”
The advice that the CEO offers to consumers is to protect yourself.
One of the ways that consumers can protect themselves from having their data stolen is by placing a freeze on your credit with all three of the major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion).
To place a freeze on your credit, visit any of the websites listed below:
Type in your name, address, social security number and date of birth. You may be asked to provide a previous address if you have lived at your current residence for less than two years.
Consumers can also submit a credit freeze request via phone or in writing.