Published: Wed, September 20, 2017
Culture&Arts | By Hattie Nash

Equifax says March breach not related to major hack

Equifax says March breach not related to major hack

(NYSE:EFX) in which as many as 143 million Americans may have had their personal information compromised.

Hanley Chew, a privacy and data security lawyer at Fenwick & West, said last week that the stock sales could trigger a criminal investigation. The March incident hasn't yet been made public.

On Monday, Equifax said the March incident was unrelated to the recently disclosed hack that occurred between May and July 2017.

Bloomberg's report speculated that the March incident may not have involved the theft of sensitive data on Equifax's customers, and may instead have been aimed at stealing credentials that could be used to hack into the systems of banks or other financial institutions with which Equifax does business. It has since hired an outside cybersecurity firm to investigate.

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In a statement, an Equifax spokeswoman said the company has received the letter. The Democrats are also trying to pressure Republicans to be at least as tough on Equifax as they were with a government agency that suffered its own breach.

Equifax's investigation thus far shows that hackers had unauthorized access to its files from May 13 to July 30.

Three of Equifax's top executives sold shares worth almost $1.8 million (£1.33m) on 1 and 2 August, according to regulatory filings. Equifax did not say in its statement what retirement packages the executives would receive.

Federal agencies, state officials and members of Congress are now probing Equifax over its data security practices, customer service response and the possibility of insider trading from executives. And that's just in the U.S.

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U.S. prosecutors in Atlanta, who the people said are looking into the share sales, said in a statement they are examining the breach and theft of people's personal information in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In a statement also issued on September 15, Equifax noted that in the United Kingdom (UK) it would likely only to need to contact approximately 400,000 customers about the potential impact of the data breach.

Other attorneys general from New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania and CT have also launched investigations into the breach. "The CFPB is authorized to take enforcement action against institutions engaged in unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices, or that otherwise violate federal consumer financial laws", the spokesman said.

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