Science-Technology, Americas

Hackers steal data of 143 million in US from Equifax

Company says that hackers were not able to access core consumer credit reporting database

08.09.2017
Hackers steal data of 143 million in US from Equifax

By Barry Eitel

SAN FRANCISCO

Credit reporting company Equifax announced Thursday that hackers had absconded with the personal information of an estimated 143 million US consumers.

Hackers stole data including names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses and driver's license numbers. They were also able to steal the credit card numbers for about 209,000 people.

While these thefts have become alarmingly common, attacks where Social Security numbers, driver’s license information and credit card numbers are stolen are rarer. This information is particularly valuable for identity thieves.

The cyber-attack occurred between May and July of this year. Equifax discovered the hacking on July 29 and enlisted leading cyber-security firms to stop the attack.

The company noted that the hackers did not seem to be able to infiltrate the systems that control credit scores for millions of Americans.

"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 CEO Richard Smith said in a statement. “I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes.”

Equifax noted that some consumers in Canada and the United Kingdom were also affected, but there has been no evidence that the residents of any other countries were compromised in the attack.

The company set up a new website for consumers to check to see if they were impacted and to sign up for credit monitoring.

“We pride ourselves on being a leader in managing and protecting data, and we are conducting a thorough review of our overall security operations,” Smith continued. “We also are focused on consumer protection and have developed a comprehensive portfolio of services to support all U.S. consumers, regardless of whether they were impacted by this incident.”

Shares of Equifax plunged more than 13 percent in after-hours trading Thursday, amid the news to $124.00.

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