"Equifax Deserves To Be Shamed": Former Credit Bureau CEO Faces Bipartisan Criticism

Equifax Data Breach: 2.5 million more consumers affected, ex-CEO faces Congress

Equifax Data Breach: 2.5 million more consumers affected, ex-CEO faces Congress

"Equifax was entrusted with Americans' private data and we let them down", he told the House panel in prepared remarks.

It wouldn't be until August 15 that he first heard that data like Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, addresses, and driver's license numbers were in the trove of information siphoned off by the digital burglars. Their actions went undetected until late July, when Equifax finally registered suspicious traffic on its network.

While Smith pointed to a lifetime credit lock for Equifax credit reports, all he could do with the other two credit bureaus, Experian and TransUnion, was suggest they offer a similar service.

Richard Smith, the Equifax CEO at the time of the breach, apologized Tuesday for the hack while testifying before Congress.

The company was also slammed for charging individuals to check to see if they were affected, while its credit monitoring site was deemed susceptible to hacking and accidentally sending data breach victims to a fake phishing website for weeks.

Despite the major breach, Equifax received a no-bid contract from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for fraud protection on October 4, that's worth about $7.25 million.

Gina Garza, the IRS chief information officer, testified that the IRS sent investigators to Equifax to ensure its data had not been breached and to place additional safeguards on the 200,000 Social Security numbers that could potentially have been at risk.

Senators expressed concern that this tool wouldn't be enough to earn back consumer trust and keep data secure, saying that consumers should be able to ask Equifax to relinquish their data altogether.

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The company has said that it believes that hackers accessed Equifax Canada's systems through a consumer website application intended for use by USA consumers. The data of customers in Canada and the United Kingdom have also been stolen.

Smith was Equifax's CEO for a dozen years.

Smith said he would like companies and government agencies to "begin a dialogue" about replacing Social Security numbers as a key verifier.

"There is an intrinsic vulnerability in collecting and storing personal financial information, and we need to have a meaningful discussion on how to protect and limit access to it", said Senator Mike Crapo, the committee chairman. On Tuesday night, reports emerged that the IRS had granted a $7 million fraud-prevention contract to Equifax on September 29, well after the breach was announced.

"I think it's time to put some teeth into this", Barton said.

"I'm truly and deeply sorry for what happened", Smith said at the start of his testimony to a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee.

Smith also said the sales occurred after quarterly earnings were reported, which is a common practice within the company. "We don't know how this breach happened, who is responsible or what Equifax is doing to prevent a similar security lapse from happening in the future".

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