Security & Fraud

Equifax CEO Vows To Make Changes, Protect Consumers In Wake Of Breach

Equifax Security chairman and chief executive officer Richard Smith recently penned an Oped in USA Today in which he vowed to provide protections to everyone who was impacted by a massive data breach that potentially affected 143 million customers.

In his open letter to consumers, Smith described the breach as something that was painful to announce because of the concern and frustration it had created for millions of its customers.  

“We apologize to everyone affected,” Smith wrote. “This is the most humbling moment in our 118-year history.”

According to the executive, Equifax Security discovered the hack on July 29 and said it was fair for people to question why it took six weeks to alert the public to the incident.  

“Shortly after discovering the intrusion, we engaged a leading cybersecurity firm to conduct an investigation,” said Smith. “At the time, we thought the intrusion was limited. The team, working with Equifax Security personnel, devoted thousands of hours during the following weeks to investigate.”

He went on to say the company is focused on doing everything it can to support the impacted consumers, and that outside investigators found zero evidence of unauthorized activity on its core consumer and commercial credit reporting databases. Smith recommended customers visit its website to ascertain if their data is at risk. As of Tuesday (Sept. 12.), more than 15 million people have visited the website, while 11.5 million are enrolling in credit file monitoring and identity theft protection, he added.

“Consumers and media have raised legitimate concerns about the services we offered and the operations of our call center and website,” wrote Smith. “We accept the criticism and are working to address a range of issues. We are devoting extraordinary resources to make sure this kind of incident doesn’t happen again. We will make changes and continue to strengthen our defenses against cyber crimes. We will make sure every consumer who wants protection has a full package of services. And we will continue to update everyone on our progress.”

Separately, Forbes reported Equifax may have another problem on its hands as researchers at Hold Security found a web portal belonging to the company that had the password and username as “admin” and “admin,” respectively.

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