Friday, 20 October, 2017

Fmr. Equifax CEO in the hot seat: 5 things to know

After the data breach, the IRS hired Equifax to handle taxpayer information Fmr. Equifax CEO in the hot seat: 5 things to know
Marta Holmes | 05 October, 2017, 00:35

In testimony on Tuesday before a US House subcommittee on consumer protection, Smith explained that Equifax has a protocol whereby news of important software patches is communicated to the appropriate people within a certain time.

In response to often pointed questions from committee members, Smith insisted the delay was because he and his top executives, despite an August 2 decision to call in King & Spalding and notify the Federal Bureau of Investigation, knew only that "suspicious activity" had been detected on one of the company's internet portals, not that their data banks of consumer information had been accessed. Equifax sent a form letter back, which never mentioned service members, according to Donnelly.

Smith challenged Equifax competitors TransUnion and Experian to come up with a similar system.

Richard Smith, the former Equifax CEO who suddenly retired last week, has decided that the buck for one of the most catastrophic data breaches in history must stop with a lone IT staffer - rather than the company's freshly departed, well-remunerated former CEO.

Smith stepped down as CEO three weeks after the breach was announced to the public.

Stock sales by three top Equifax executives and a recently renewed contract with the IRS to provide fraud prevention services also drew the ire of several senators.

Equifax will alert the additional potentially affected consumers by mail.

"The vulnerability remained in an Equifax web application much longer than it should have", Smith said in remarks prepared for delivery on Tuesday.

In July, after the IRS made a decision to replace Equifax with another company's successful bid, Equifax challenged the procurement.

"I'm here today to say to each and every person affected by this breach I'm truly and deeply sorry for what happened".

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said Equifax didn't have enough incentive to ensure consumer data was secure.

Smith, in a statement to a congressional committee released, offered a timeline of the cyber attack which leaked social security numbers and other sensitive data.

Equifax announced last month hackers had gained access to the personal information of almost 150 million Americans. They have made themselves indispensable to the smooth functioning of the USA economy by collecting reams of essential information about consumers - without their consent - and selling it to banks, auto dealers, mortgage lenders and other companies that deal with the public in some way.

"A constituent pointed out to me it would be wrong to call the victims of this breach Equifax customers, and he asks why he's been impacted in this manner", Congressman Paul Tonko, R-NY, said.

We will likely continue to see bad news in the aftermath of Equifax's confession of exposing more than 143 million individuals personal data.

"I look forward to being part of that dialog", he said early in the hearing, which followed Tuesday's appearance before House lawmakers.

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