Equifax hack included nearly 11 million US driver’s licenses

The latest news from the enormous Equifax hack is that the stolen records included 10.9 million driver’s licenses from U.S. citizens, according to The Wall Street Journal’s sources. This isn’t much of a surprise given how poorly all the other information was secured, but it’s nice to put a number on just how many of various personal documents Equifax’s poor security practices exposed.

Licenses are of course a ubiquitous form of state-issued ID, and as such end up being used frequently for certain kinds of verification. No doubt Equifax required its users to provide this particular form of ID… oh, I’d say about 10.9 million times.

While your driver’s license isn’t exactly personal identification, having that information makes it that much easier to impersonate you. If your bank requires you to put in your last four of your social and your driver’s license (plus some meaningless stuff like your mother’s maiden name), that information could very well all be out there for anyone looking.

What does this mean? Well, websites and services that previously used licenses as a way of verifying identity should no longer do so, since millions of them are now in the wild. Unfortunately, you can’t really make them stop — but you can report your license stolen.

Sure, it wasn’t stolen like you’d steal a car, but it was stolen like you’d steal a movie — copied and distributed online. Unlike a movie, however, your license loses its value upon being widely copied.

It may cost you a few bucks (here in Washington, it’s $20), but you can get a brand new license with a brand new number simply by saying it was stolen, which for 10.9 million Americans is true. I’m not a lawyer or big security expert, but I do think this is a fairly painless way to put this particular inconvenience behind you without trying to deal with Equifax or anyone else.