An anonymous reader shared this report from security research Brian Krebs:
In the summer of 2022, KrebsOnSecurity documented the plight of several readers who had their accounts at big-three consumer credit reporting bureau Experian hijacked after identity thieves simply re-registered the accounts using a different email address. Sixteen months later, Experian clearly has not addressed this gaping lack of security. I know that because my account at Experian was recently hacked, and the only way I could recover access was by recreating the account…
The homepage said I needed to provide a Social Security number and mobile phone number, and that I’d soon receive a link that I should click to verify myself. The site claims that the phone number you provide will be used to help validate your identity. But it appears you could supply any phone number in the United States at this stage in the process, and Experian’s website would not balk.
One user said they recreated their account this week — even though the phone number they’d input was a random number. “The only difference: it asked me FIVE questions about my personal history (last time it only asked three) before proclaiming, ‘Welcome back, Pete!,’ and granting full access,” @PeteMayo wrote. “I feel silly saving my password for Experian; may as well just make a new account every time.”
And Krebs points out that “Regardless, users can simply skip this step by selecting the option to ‘Continue another way.'”
Experian then asks for your full name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, email address and chosen password. After that, they require you to successfully answer between three to five multiple-choice security questions whose answers are very often based on public records. When I recreated my account this week, only two of the five questions pertained to my real information, and both of those questions concerned street addresses we’ve previously lived at — information that is just a Google search away…
Experian will send a message to the old email address tied to the account, saying certain aspects of the user profile have changed. But this message isn’t a request seeking verification: It’s just a notification from Experian that the account’s user data has changed, and the original user is offered zero recourse here other than to a click a link to log in at Experian.com. And of course, a user who receives one of these notices will find that the credentials to their Experian account no longer work. Nor do their PIN or account recovery question, because those have been changed also. Your only option at this point is recreate your account at Experian and steal it back from the ID thieves!
Experian’s security measures “are constantly evolving,” insisted Experian spokesperson Scott Anderson — though Krebs remains unsatisfied.
Anderson said all consumers have the option to activate a multi-factor authentication method that’s requested each time they log in to their account. But what good is multi-factor authentication if someone can simply recreate your account with a new phone number and email address?