Equifax Hacked, Personal Information of 143 Million Exposed

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Sep 8, 2017
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Credit reporting agency Equifax said that hackers were able to access the personal information of 143 million U.S. consumers, which includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver's license numbers. This is approximately 44 percent of the total U.S. population of 323 million. Beyond this personal information, 209,000 credit card numbers and 182,000 other personally identifying documents were also accessed. The agency said it discovered the unauthorized access on July 29 and acted immediately to stop the intrusion. It then hired a leading, independent cybersecurity firm to conduct a forensic review to determine the scope of the intrusion. Equifax said that while its investigation is substantially complete, it's still ongoing and is expected to be finished in the coming weeks. 

"This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do. I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes," said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Richard F. Smith. "We pride ourselves on being a leader in managing and protecting data, and we are conducting a thorough review of our overall security operations.  We also are focused on consumer protection and have developed a comprehensive portfolio of services to support all U.S. consumers, regardless of whether they were impacted by this incident." 

To find out whether you information has been accessed, Equifax has set up the website www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. The site will also offer credit file monitoring and identity theft protection services, free to U.S. consumers for one year. The company also plans to send direct mail notices to consumers whose credit card numbers or dispute documents with personal identifying information were impacted. Equifax also is in the process of contacting U.S. state and federal regulators and has sent written notifications to all U.S. state attorneys general, which includes Equifax contact information for regulator inquiries. 

Shares of Equifax tumbled after the announcement, but not before three executives sold a small amount of their own stock in the company, according to Bloomberg. Equifax, said that the executives had no knowledge of the intrusion when they sold their shares. 

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