December 16 2017

DC proposes free-of-charge credit freezes in wake of Equifax breach

December 16 2017, 03:05 | Van Peters

Americans are outraged about the Equifax data breach that exposed the personal and financial data of 143 million people

Americans are outraged about the Equifax data breach that exposed the personal and financial data of 143 million people

He also cited the TrustedID credit-watching package that the company is offering. That day, Equifax also alerted the Federal Bureau of Investigation. His total compensation was about $2.8 million previous year. That's the first of a trio of Capital Hill hearings at which Smith, who "retired" last week, is scheduled to testify this week (see Ousted Equifax CEO Faces 3 Congressional Hearings).

Smith didn't pinpoint those responsible for the hack in his testimony, saying only, "the company failed to prevent sensitive information from falling into the hands of wrongdoers".

"It could have horrifying consequences financially to consumers", Ziperman said. He said both human efforts and technology failures were to blame for the attack that allowed criminals to access personal data on almost half the USA population.

Democrats have introduced a flurry of legislation in response to the breach.

The timeline in Tuesday's testimony doesn't specifically say who inside the company other than Smith and the security team knew about the breach before he says he told management and the board.

The former CEO's appearance Tuesday marks the first in a series of Equifax hearings in Washington.

The data breach ran between mid-May and 29 July.

The investigation was conducted by the forensic security firm Madiant.

This is just the latest in a spate of hacks, data breaches and other forms of cyber attack on Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East. Equifax's security policies say that all flaws must be patched within 48 hours of a security alert being received.

"It appears that the breach occurred because of both human error and technology failures", Smith writes.

Equifax officials are also reportedly being investigated by the US Justice Department after selling stock before the company revealed a data breach that exposed the personal information of millions of Americans.

In his prepared remarks, Smith admitted the company didn't act quickly to fix a software glitch that had been widely known since the government warned companies about it in March. Smith said he didn't learn of the suspicious activity until July 31.

While there is no word on damage control efforts for victims outside of the USA, the company says that it will offer free credit monitoring, access to Equifax credit files, an insurance policy which will cover "out of pocket expenses" for those affected, and scans across the underbelly of the Internet to check for signs that Social Security numbers are being sold.

The ousted CEO begins his statement prepared for House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing by taking full responsibility for the breach and apologizing to the hundreds of millions of consumers affected by the incident.

Smith said Equifax faced a "massive" task to prepare to respond to customers and had been overwhelmed by calls after the breach became public. It has also put in place a support package that includes free credit file monitoring, identity theft insurance and a credit lock that restricts access to a consumer's credit report.

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