"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, Smithsaid.
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.
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