Published: Thu, October 05, 2017
Industry | By Dora Warner

Former Equifax CEO apologizes for hack

Former Equifax CEO apologizes for hack

In the breach, which was first discovered in late July but not made public until several weeks later, hackers were able to obtain names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and credit card numbers.

While Equifax's old CEO testifies in front of Congress, the company laid out a lucrative new salary package for its new CEO, Paulino Barros, Jr.

But both Democrats and Republicans at the energy and commerce subcommittee hearing were united in their anger.

Smith said that consumers who were initially given a vague response by Equifax's website about the potential hack of their data should have received clarity now.

"This is not a company that deserves to be trusted with Americans' personal data", said Brown.

Smith says they weren't prepared to deal with so many consumers all at once.

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The company has said that it believes that hackers accessed Equifax Canada's systems through a consumer website application intended for use by US consumers. "How does this happen?' Walden said".

"It's time we change the paradigm of who controls and who accesses credit data", he said.

The IRS is hiring the embattled credit reporting agency to "verify taxpayer identity and to assist in ongoing identity verification and validations needs of the Service", according to its filing on Federal Business Opportunities, a website that lists federal contracts.

In March, the U.S. Homeland Security Department alerted Equifax to an online gap in security but the company did nothing, said Smith. The company disseminated that warning by email the next day and requested that applicable personnel install the upgrade. So why didn't Equifax deploy the patch?

By mid-May, attackers had found the unpatched software and used the flaw to gain access to sensitive information. Former CEO Richard Smith retired (banking as much as a $90 million payday), as did its chief information officer and chief security officer. They're men of integrity.

"Following an internal review and an on-site visit with Equifax, the IRS believes the service Equifax provided does not pose a risk to IRS data or systems", the agency said. Smith said there was no indication that the data, while hacked, wasn't removed from their system.

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The company discovered the hack July 29 and publicly announced it more than a month later, on September 7.

The former chief executive at Equifax tells lawmakers that the sale of company stock by senior executives in early August was unrelated to the data breach at the company. "Put a happy face (on this) and then leave with a golden parachute", said Rep. "Unfortunately, if fraudsters destroy my constituents' savings and financial futures, there's no golden parachute awaiting them". Consumers don't have the ability to remove their information from Equifax's databases because it's furnished by banks and telecommunications companies.

Republican Rep. Greg Walden of OR asked how this could happen "when so much is at stake?"

The company is still investigating why the subsequent scan did not detect the vulnerability, but written testimony indicates it took place the following week, on March 15th. The Mandiant forensic review added nearly 2.5 million to the estimated list of American customers, pushing the total figure up to a massive 145.5 million people altogether. "Forty eight states have implemented laws that require consumers to be notified of security breaches", Matsui said. "That's all I'll say".

"The slow rollout and how poorly it was done". "To me, it's just inexcusable".

Associated Press writer Ken Sweet in NY contributed.

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