The Strategist

Hackers stole data of 143 million customers of Equifax

09/08/2017 - 14:02

Credit Bureau Equifax Inc., one of the three largest in the United States, reported a massive cyber security breach. Hackers have got access personal data of nearly half the US population - 143 million people.

According to Bloomberg agency, the intruders became aware of names and surnames of customers, their dates of birth, numbers of their insurance policies and driving licenses. In addition, cyber-fraudsters obtained access to credit card numbers of 209,000 people and a number of documents on claims containing personal data of 182,000 Americans. Equifax also found out that hackers gained access to data from some UK and Canadian residents. 

Equifax Credit History Bureau handles the processing and storage of data on the performance of loans and borrowings by individuals and legal entities, and also provides credit reports and other related services.

As stated in Equifax’s message, criminals took advantage of a vulnerability of the American site of the company to access certain files from mid-May to the end of July 2017.

At the same time, the company did not find any signs of unauthorized access or operations with the main databases of consumers and legal entities.

Chief Executive Officer of Equifax Richard Smith said: "This is a sad event for our company, and I apologize to our customers for the concern and disappointment caused by this incident."

The event has become a serious blow to the reputation of the company, whose specialists are hired to protect user data. "You will feel more secure with Equifax, we are the leading provider of data leakage protection services and we serve more than 500 organizations that are experiencing data leakage every day," the company’s website says.

Official representatives of Equifax said that unknown persons entered the company's servers as early as in May 2017, but their presence remained unnoticed until the end of July 2017. No details about the attack are reported, only that the attackers compromised a certain web application on the site. The official announcement was issued only recently.

For Equifax, the situation is complicated by the fact that the three top managers of the company, including its financial director, John Gamble, sold Equifax shares for almost $ 1.8 million within a few days after the detection of the cyber-attack, writes the Financial Times. A representative of Equifax told the publication that none of the three knew about the cyberattack at the time of the transactions and that they had sold only a small fraction of their investments.

Equifax's stock price fell 13% after the closing session in New York on Thursday.