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Lawmakers Want Equifax to Hand Over Accounting on Security Breach



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Lawmakers on Monday demanded that Equifax hand over a detailed accounting of its security systems after a hack put 143 million American consumers' information in the hands of criminals. The breach is regarded as one of the most troubling ever disclosed.

The top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Finance Committee wrote a letter asking 13 questions designed to clarify the circumstances surrounding the breach. Lawmakers want to know how the hack was detected, what type of data was exposed, and if the company's system is capable of detecting and combating such hacks.

The letter also referred to Equifax as a partner with the government, and raised key concerns about criminals using the hacked information to obtain tax refunds and government benefits.

"The scope and scale of this breach appears to make it one of the largest on record, and the sensitivity of the information comprised may make it the most costly to taxpayers and consumers," wrote Senators Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), chairman of the Finance Committee.

The letter highlighted increasing concerns from both Republicans and Democrats over how Equifax is handling the aftermath of the breach.

The Atlanta-based agency collects data on 820 million consumers around the world. Equifax's stock has plummeted since news broke of the breach, down 2.44% to 96.66 at closing on Thursday. The stock was at 142.72 on September 7.

Equifax chief executive Richard Smith issued a statement apologizing for the breach, but has provided little information to the public aside from stating that the issue was being investigated by law enforcement and a private cybersecurity company.

The company broke news of the hack on Thursday, six weeks after detecting the breach, and has refused to explain why it took so long to inform the public of the incident.

Orrin Hatch is one of the first Republicans to speak out about the Equifax data breach. Democrats spoke out about the hack within 24 hours of the news, demanding an investigation and proposing the creation of new legislation to protect personal data.

It is not uncommon for companies to wait weeks or months to report breaches to those affected.

Hatch and Wyden have also asked Equifax to explain when it revealed the breach to key executives and board members, several of which dumped large amounts of their shares in the days after the hack was discovered in July.

The Equifax breach is the latest in a string of hacks that have put cybersecurity in the spotlight. In 2016, the ransomware industry hit the $1 billion mark.

This article was written by Adam Monson for on .

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