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Equifax to offer free credit freezes for life, new CEO claims

04 October 2017

Mandiant, the cybersecurity forensics firm hired by Equifax to investigate the hack, completed its analysis of the incident and concluded that more information had been taken.

"The criminal hack happened on my watch". At that time, I was informed that there was evidence of suspicious activity on our dispute portal and that the portal had been taken offline to address the potential issues.

"To each and every person affected by this breach, I am deeply sorry that this occurred", Smith said. Equifax's security policies say that all flaws must be patched within 48 hours of a security alert being received.

Equifax is waiving credit freeze fees, but fees are still being charged at other credit-reporting bureaus such as Experian, TransUnion and Innovis.

Former chairman and CEO of Equifax Richard F. Smith talks with former Sen. Saxby Chambliss R-Ga. as he takes his seat to testify before the Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee of the House Commerce Committee on Capitol Hill in Washing

While Equifax previously said up to 100,000 Canadian citizens may have been affected, it said Monday that the completed review did not bear that out and it determined that the information of about 8,000 Canadian consumers was involved.

A data breach on this scale, and a compromise leading to a treasure trove of data on millions of people which could be used for identity theft, to create credit lines and destroy financial stability and ability, was naturally something that regulators had to examine. The investigations were the result of action by multiple senators and legislative committees highlighting the severity of the breach and the deficiencies of Equifax's response, as well as threats by several states to bring suit against Equifax.

Latta oversees a House panel that is hearing from former Equifax Chairman Richard Smith. The executives maintain that they were unaware of the hack when they sold their shares.

"The scale of this hack was enormous and we struggled with the initial effort to meet the challenges that effective remediation posed", Smith said in the remarks. But he said, "I don't think I can pass a law that, excuse me for saying, fixes stupid".

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The company's investigation into its United Kingdom customers is also complete, but Equifax is still in the process of analyzing how many Britons were affected.

"The big thing we heard today is it was a very human error on their part" Latta said. "It's like the guards at Fort Knox forgot to lock the doors and failed to notice thieves emptying the vaults".

Additionally, Smith noted that on March 15, Equifax's information security department rans scans that should have identified systems that were vulnerable to the Struts vulnerability.

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

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Equifax's then-CEO waited for three weeks to inform the board about data breach.

Lawmakers asked U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Jay Clayton last week to confirm whether Equifax executives who have left their posts would still be looked into for wrongdoing. Rep. Ryan Costello, R-Pa., said hundreds of constituents have contacted his office about the company's response.

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Equifax to offer free credit freezes for life, new CEO claims