Equifax has announced that a data breach has compromised the data of 143 million Americans. Equifax, one of the largest credit rating and reporting companies in the United States, said the hack was discovered on July 29.
In a statement released after market hours on Thursday, the company said hackers discovered a vulnerability on its website and accessed certain files.
“Criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files,” the agency said.
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Equifax Chief Executive Richard Smith stated that the incident was “disappointing” and “one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do.”
“I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes,” he added.
Smith further stated that Equifax had been the leader in managing and protecting data, and the company will conduct a thorough review of its overall security operations.
According to the SEC filing, Equifax Chief Financial Officer John Gamble Jr., Workforce Solutions President Rodolfo Ploder and U.S. Information Solutions President Joseph Loughran sold approximately $2 million shares in the company just a few days after the cyber-attack. Whether their stake sales were in response to the data breach is not known, reports CNBC. However, Equifax stated that all three executives sold very small percentages of their stakes, and they were not aware of the data breach at the time those shares were offloaded.
Equifax has set up a website where individuals can learn more about the attack and understand how it affects them. They can also register under the identity theft protection and file monitoring services.
It is not the first data breach concerning Equifax. Last year, hackers broke into the W-2 tax and salary data via the Equifax website. Then