Equifax announces massive data breach
by Leigh Jones
Posted 9/07/17, 05:41 pm
Credit reporting company Equifax announced Thursday that a breach of its data systems in July exposed names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, addresses, and some driver’s license numbers for nearly half the U.S. population. Hackers “exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files,” company representatives said in a statement. As many as 143 million consumers might be affected. The company knows for sure the hackers accessed credit card numbers for about 209,000 consumers and documents containing personal identifying information for about 182,000 consumers. Equifax discovered the breach July 29 and later concluded hackers first accessed the company’s systems in mid July. Consumers can visit a special website to determine whether the security breach compromised their data and sign up for free monitoring services to protect against identity theft. “This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do,” said chairman and CEO Richard F. Smith. “I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes.”
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Leigh lives in Houston with her husband and daughter. She is WORLD Digital’s managing editor and reports on education for WORLD Magazine and WORLD Digital.