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Forensic Investigation into Equifax Breach Finds More Affected Americans

04 Octubre 2017, 11:14 | Dolorita Barahona

Former CEO of Equifax Richard Smith Equifax Youtube

Rick Smith Equifax

The completed review determined that approximately 2.5 million additional US consumers were potentially impacted, for a total of 145.5 million.

The chairmen of two congressional committees say in a letter to Equifax CEO Richard Smith that they are investigating the breach and ask for a slew of documents and a company briefing by September 28. Smith attributed the mistake up to a combination of "human error and technological error".

But Smith insisted, to the best of his knowledge, the executives who sold stock with Kelly's OK were unaware that any suspicious activity involving the potential compromise of company-held consumer information was under investigation.

Smith noted that on March 8, U.S. CERT and the Department of Homeland Security issued an alert about the Struts vulnerability, advising Equifax and others to patch quickly.

Smith resigned last month over the security breach, and opened his testimony Tuesday by saying responsibility for the massive breach ultimately falls on him.

Lawmakers pressed Smith to account for the nearly inconceivable series of errors that led a multi-billion dollar company in possession of more than 800 million individuals' private data worldwide to fail to safeguard the information.

"You're really only required to notify people and say, 'So sorry, so sad, '" Republican Rep. Joe Barton said. In addition, it also was determined that some of the consumers with affected credit cards announced in the company's initial statement are Canadian.

Instead of being discovered, the hackers were able to plunder information about 145.5 million Equifax accounts until they were finally finally found on July 29. "If you think you're safe, that's probably when you're not", he said.

Criminals can use the information to steal your identity and rack up debt in your name.

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Democrats favor legislation that they say would establish strong data security standards and prompt notification and relief for consumers when their information is hacked. In its financial filings, it said it relies "extensively" on the "voluntary contribution on credit data from most lenders in the U.S".

Several House members pointed out that this wasn't the first time that a credit-data breach had occurred in recent history, or even with Equifax, but that the cycle of attacks needed to end.

Equifax has been raked over the coals for offering up a separate website to tell consumers seemingly at random if they'd been affected by the hack.

The lawmakers could barely mask their anger as they pressed Smith on why the company's data security practices were inadequate, given the mass amounts of personal data the company handles.

Equifax has since then stopped charging for credit freezes to victims of the data breach. "I apologize to American for what happened", Smith replied.

Now several top Equifax execs are being taken to task for failing to protect the information of millions of US citizens.

Rep. Schakowsky, who recently reintroduced a consumer data protection bill, was unimpressed with Equifax's gestures.

As a result, "the vulnerability remained in an Equifax web application much longer than it should have", Smith said.

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