More than sloppy cybersecurity measures, the massive data breach uncovered at Equifax revealed inherent flaws in the U.S.: the over-reliance on Social Security numbers credit reporting system in need of reform.
The Social Security number is a "chief means" of identifying and gathering information about an individual, according to website of the Social Security Administration. Among others, it is used in the opening of a bank account, application for loans and filing of tax returns.
The wide usage in both government and private sectors, and the ease of using it to access highly-sensitive accounts, has made hacking systems such as credit reporting agencies more appealing, experts told CNBC.
Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting firms in the U.S., suffered one of the largest breaches in the country. The company said on Sept. 7 that it discovered a breach on July 29 that could potentially affect 143 million consumers — nearly half of the U.S. population.