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As ex-Equifax CEO testifies, all credit bureaus are on trial

04 Octubre 2017, 09:26 | Azura Castelo

As ex-Equifax CEO testifies, all credit bureaus are on trial

Former Equifax CEO Richard Smith came under harsh questioning Wednesday at a hearing of the Senate Banking Committee the second of three congressional hearings on Equifax being held this week

They are reviewing a data breach that affected an estimated 145 million Americans.

- Former Equifax CEO Richard Smith told US lawmakers on October 3 that he was "deeply sorry" for a cyber hack that was thought to have exposed personal information for 143 million customers.

Hackers accessed names, addresses, social security numbers, and some driver's licenses through a flaw in software known as Apache Struts.

It blamed a vulnerability in the Java Struts Web application framework for the breach.

Hackers have unauthorized access to Equifax Inc.'s files.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Equifax and will update this article if we hear back.

"When I came to the company 12 years ago we had virtually no focus on cyber security", Smith testified. "There is a real impact as a result of this breach on consumers".

Equifax and an independent cybersecurity forensic consulting firm, Mandiant, worked "literally around the clock" to figure out what happened, Smith said.

Tuesday's committee hearing begins three days of inquiry into how Equifax managed to compromise the data of millions of Americans. In its financial filings, it said it relies "extensively" on the "voluntary contribution on credit data from most lenders in the U.S".

Since the breach, Equifax has been offering a credit lock to those affected, which would prevent the sales of information to other companies, though the information that was taken was kept in a portal that was not encrypted.

In testimony on Tuesday before a US House subcommittee on consumer protection, Smith explained that Equifax has a protocol whereby news of important software patches is communicated to the appropriate people within a certain time.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada launches investigation into the breach.

However, Mr Smith said they were not aware at the time that personal information had been stolen.

In another exchange, Smith said he had "no indication of a breach" prior to the date of the stock sales, only of "suspicious activity". Both are replaced with internal employees on an interim basis effective immediately. A spokeswoman for LifeLock said Wednesday the company monitors information from all three major credit bureaus, as well as identity theft information from third-party data sources, and LifeLock's proprietary ID Analytics network. He stepped down on September 25, in the wake of the data breach.

Equifax also faces several state and federal inquiries and numerous class-action lawsuits.

The breach involved TALX, which is Equifax's human resources and payroll service.

That last part is telling, a possible signal to what could - or could not happen - after this week's hearings.

Mandiant found that about 8 000 Canadian consumers were impacted by the hack, fewer than the initial estimate of 100 000.

Late Monday, Equifax said an independent review had boosted the number of potentially affected USA consumers by 2.5 million to 145.5 million.



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