Economy

Millions more potentially affected by Equifax cybersecurity breach

Millions more potentially affected by Equifax cybersecurity breach”

The additional customers found to be potentially impacted by the breach all stem from the initial incident reported to consumers September 7.

Hackers linked to the Chinese government are being blamed for the theft of data from consumer credit reporting agency Equifax Inc. but strangely not for the initial hack, according to a newly published report. The company also said it would update its own notification for people who want to check if they were among those affected by October 8.

Political observers and consumer advocates expect Smith to receive a grilling this week on Capitol Hill as he is expected to testify over the course of three days before two House panels and before two Senate committees.

Smith also apologized for the company's botched response, which has added to the frustration of American consumers.

Earlier this month 37 US senators wrote to Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission last week asking that the stock sales be examined by those enforcement agencies. That flaw was announced in March, when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security told Equifax and many other companies that use the software about it, but Equifax didn't use the fix offered by the software developer right away. "It was this unpatched vulnerability that allowed hackers to access personal identifying information".

Between the revelation that the breach occurred and the decision to inform the public on September 7, Smith noted the rapid development of events related to the breach as investigators learned how much public information was exposed.

Last month, the credit reporting company announced that crucial, identifying information belonging to almost half the country may have been compromised, including birth dates, home addresses and Social Security numbers.

July 29: Equifax's security team observes suspicious network traffic on a USA online dispute portal web application. He said "between May 13 and July 30, there is evidence to suggest that the attacker (s) continued to access sensitive information". Equifax also waited a week to scan its network for apps that remained vulnerable.

Over the following weeks, Smith said Equifax and its advisers analyzed data to determine the scope of the breach.

The company contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation and hired outside counsel and security experts on August 2, Smith said.

Smith said the internal probe was complicated by the volume of data and the location of information across "various data tables". The value of the company's investment in Equifax, Inc. decreased from $51,278,000 to $39,178,000 decreasing 23.6% since the last quarter. The company wanted the chief legal officer to oversee cybersecurity rather than an executive who might be concerned about the allocation of money, the article explains. Its products and services are based on databases of consumer and business information derived from various sources, including credit, financial assets, telecommunications and utility payments, employment, income, demographic and marketing data. However, the review determined that about 2.5 million additional consumers were "potentially impacted" - for a total of 145.5 million. "That challenge proved overwhelming, and, regrettably, mistakes were made".



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