On August 1, just days after Equifax says it first learned that hackers had made off with the personal information for 143 million people and the credit card numbers of 209,000 individuals, Equifax chief financial officer John Gamble and president of USA information solutions Joseph Loughran each sold shares worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to SEC filings. “If you have a credit report, chances are you may be in this breach”. It said criminals exploited a US website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files that included names, Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers.
The firm has set up a website offering free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection for United States consumers for one year, as well as opening a U.S. call centre. “I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes”, Equifax chairman and CEO Richard F. Smith says in the news release announcing the hack.
“This is the nightmare scenario – all four pieces of information in one place”, John Ulzheimer, a credit specialist and former manager at Equifax, tells the Wall Street Journal’s AnnaMaria Andriotis and Ezequiel Minaya.
The hackers also got access to credit card numbers for roughly 209,000 consumers, plus certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 consumers, Equifax said. Equifax also houses much of the data that is supposed to be a backstop against security breaches. The security hack was discovered on the 29 of July, according to the credit-reporting service from last Thursday.
The company claims that they “had no knowledge that an intrusion had occurred at the time they sold their shares”. The Request said that in the event that they don’t get their payment from Equifax by September 15th, they will broadcast the hacked data. In 2013, the company confirmed that the personal details of famous people – including US Vice President Joe Biden, FBI Director Robert Mueller and, er, rap star Jay Z – were exposed on annualcreditreport.com, a site that allows consumers to monitor their credit reports.