Economy

Equifax revises number of Canadians affected by hack

Equifax revises number of Canadians affected by hack”

The former chairman and CEO of Equifax says the challenge of responding to the concerns of tens of millions of consumers after a massive data breach proved overwhelming, and regrettably, mistakes were made.

Separately, Equifax said late Monday that an outside review determined about 2.5 million additional US consumers were potentially impacted, for a revised total of 145.5 million.

Smith says that while the company was aware of suspicious activity by potential hackers, there was no indication that data had been removed from the system.

In March, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security alerted Equifax to an online gap in security but the company did nothing, said Smith. In addition, the credit card information for about 209,000 consumers was also stolen as well as certain documents with personally identifying information for approximately 182,000 consumers.

The company said the review also found that just 8,000 Canadian citizens were impacted, rather than up to 100,000 Canadians, as previously announced.

It's the first of several appearances taking place this week before House and Senate panels.

Smith says Equifax has greatly increased its customer service staff. He said "between May 13 and July 30, there is evidence to suggest that the attacker (s) continued to access sensitive information".

Apologizing for the breach, Smith told the committee that Equifax personnel noticed suspicious network traffic on July 29 and took down the vulnerable application the next day, after which Equifax began assessing the extent of data compromised before the breach was publicly announced on September 7. Smith notified the board's lead director on August 22.

Legislation to avert future data breaches like the one at Equifax Inc. will fall short because none can fully prevent human error, a US congressman told the company's former top executive.

He also told lawmakers that when the breach was first discovered on July 31, company officials did not realize that personal information about consumers had been stolen.

"I understand that your company has to sustain business, has to make money, but it would seem to me that you might pay a little bit more attention to security if you had to pay every account that got hacked a couple of thousand bucks", he said. That failure was compounded when a scan of the company's systems didn't find that the vulnerability still existed, the former CEO said.

Smith will testify at three separate congressional hearings this week.



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