Published: Wed, October 04, 2017
Economy | By Shawn Conner

Congressmen criticize Equifax's response to hack

Congressmen criticize Equifax's response to hack

Equifax, one of the America's three major credit reporting agencies, collects and aggregates information on more than 800 million individual consumers and more than 88 million businesses worldwide.

Equifax identified an intrusion on 29 July, and Smith said he was informed of the problem two days later, but it was only in mid-August that an investigation revealed the extent of the breach. According to Equifax, the completed forensic review by Mandiant found no evidence of attackers gaining access to databases located outside of the U.S. "The completed review subsequently determined that personal information of approximately 8,000 Canadian consumers was impacted".

The UK data was restricted to name, date of birth, email address and a telephone number, but did not include any residential address information, password information or financial data, said Equifax.

Smith faced questions from legislators about Equifax's botched response to the breach, the months-long delay in announcing it and whether consumers will be compensated for damage caused by identity theft.

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Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring is among attorneys general from around the nation, including D.C. and Maryland, who have told Equifax in a letter that it should reimburse fees charged to consumers freezing their credit elsewhere. The company adds that it is working with United Kingdom regulators to agree on how affected consumers should be notified.

During a testimony in front of the Congress, former Equifax CEO Richard Smith said both humans and technology is to blame for the breach.

The first time this vulnerability was exploited occurred on May 13, but Equifax remained in the dark.

Equifax 's former chief executive waited almost three weeks to tell the company's board of directors about the now infamous data breach, as a group of company and outside security experts scrambled to figure out what had happened, according written testimony prepared for his visit to Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

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"Accountability starts at the top and I, therefore, chose to step down as CEO and retire early to allow the company to move forward", Smith said. Whether your personal identifying information was compromised, or you have had to deal with the uncertainty of determining whether or not your personal data may have been compromised, I sincerely apologize.

By Sept. 4, the investigative team had created a list of 143 million consumers whose "personal information we believed had been stolen". Some employees have been accused of insider trading and others have reportedly left their positions, such as the chief security officer and chief information officer.

"I want to apologise again to all impacted consumers". "We also continue to work closely with our internal team and outside advisors to implement and accelerate long-term security improvements".

The update late on Monday also saw Equifax downgrade the number of Canadian citizens who may have been affected, previously estimated at up to 100,000, to about 8,000.

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