Published: Thu, October 05, 2017
Technology | By Russell Knight

IRS awards Equifax US$7.25m no-bid contract after hack

IRS awards Equifax US$7.25m no-bid contract after hack

Smith was Equifax's CEO for a dozen years.

Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio, says he wants to let congressional hearings into the Equifax breach run their course before making any decisions about where Congress should act to prevent future disclosures of Americans' personal information.

The hearing was a bit odd, as many members asked probing questions about what Equifax will do going forward to make consumers whole, but Smith is no longer employed by the firm. But it's unclear how 145 million consumers would have encountered the dispute portal or process. "If you think you're safe, that's probably when you're not", he said.

"I'm here today to say to each and every person affected by this breach: I'm truly and deeply sorry for what happened", Smith said.

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Democrats have introduced a flurry of legislation in response to the breach.

The timeline laid out by Smith didn't satisfy many lawmakers, who accused the company of being too slow. "I have no indication that they had any knowledge of the breach when they made this sale", Smith said, pointing out it wasn't unusual for individuals to sell within the quarterly earnings window.

While speaking to the committee (video below), former CEO Richard Smith outlined the company's normal procedure for new patches: Have a technician install it and then scan the system for any remaining vulnerabilities.

Equifax contacts cybersecurity firm Mandiant, which spends several weeks conducting a forensic review. The company sent out an internal e-mail requesting that its technical staff fix the software, but that was not done, Smith said.

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In an email to staff, Jo Bertram said: "I've chose to move on to something new and exciting". The license expired on September 30, 2017.

Some lawmakers have called for new consumer protections such as stricter monitoring of the credit bureaus and a federal rule standardizing requirements to notify victims of data breaches. Smith's prepared remarks were similar to those written for his appearance before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday, where he claimed "full responsibility".

Representative Joe Barton wondered if companies like Equifax might do a better job protecting customers' data if there were federal fines for breaches. But despite numerous internal discussions, Equifax did not publicly announce the breach until September 7.

"It's like the guards at Fort Knox forgot to lock the doors and failed to notice the thieves were emptying the vaults", US Rep. Greg Walden (D-Ore.) said. NY has also issued a subpoena in regards to the massive breach and the city of San Francisco has opened up a lawsuit against Equifax on behalf of the 15 million Californians affected by the hack. Smith noted during his testimony Warren was correct regarding the business relationship.

On Monday, Equifax said its breach potentially affected 2.5 million more people than it had previously stated.

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Winston said he returned the truck to its owner on Monday night. "I'm glad that I could call them my country folk", he said. In two trips, Winston and Lewis said they transported about two dozen people to the hospital.

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