Credit agency Equifax announced late Thursday that approximately 143 million Americans had their personal data stolen in a massive hack between May and July of this year. The hackers gained access to names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and in some cases – driver’s license numbers.
The company, which in delightful irony offers credit-monitoring and identity-theft protection products to “guard consumers’ personal information”, said that it had learned of the incident on July 29, 2017, at which point it reported the intrusion to law enforcement and contracted a cybersecurity firm to conduct a forensic review: based on the company’s investigation, the unauthorized access occurred from mid-May through July 2017. Oddly enough, it took shareholders and over a third of America, more than a month longer to learn that all their personal data may have been compromised.
As if 143 million leaked social security numbers wasn’t enough, Equifax said that criminals also accessed credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers. But wait, there’s more: the company also identified unauthorized access to limited personal information for certain UK and Canadian residents.
The best part?
Equifax decided to hold off on announcing the hacking news until after three executives sold nearly $1.8 million in shares days after the breach was discovered. (Bloomberg)
The credit-reporting service said late Thursday in a statement that it discovered the intrusion on July 29. Regulatory filings show that three days later, Chief Financial Officer John Gamble sold shares worth $946,374 and Joseph Loughran, president of U.S. information solutions, exercised options to dispose of stock worth $584,099. Rodolfo Ploder, president of workforce solutions, sold $250,458 of stock on Aug. 2. None of the filings lists the transactions as being part of 10b5-1 pre-scheduled trading plans.
“This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do,” Equifax Chief Executive Richard Smith said in prepared remarks. “I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes.”
Equifax ($EFX) cascaded lower as much as 19% after hoursTwitter