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Equifax Update: Congress Gets Its Turn with Ex-CEO Richard Smith on What Went Wrong

"Four meetings a year to defend hundreds of millions of people's crucial personal information gets you exactly the type of security posture Equifax had." - Wired

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Former Equifax CEO Richard Smith got his Congressional grilling on Oct. 3 - a hearing that has become almost the inverse of the American dream for people (often powerful or successful people) who have ostensibly achieved it - those who are called to publically testify to account for misbehavior, wrongdoing, negligence, or all of the above.

In Smith's case, the evidence points toward negligence, when considering the Equifax breach.

The Breach

As we wrote on Sept. 20 (what Americans can do about the Equifax hack), hackers now have the personal information of 143 million Americans. (Make that 145.5 million Americans, as became known during the Congressional hearing.) Unknown hackers pilfered names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, credit card numbers, and other "personally identifying information," but the true nature and extent of the pilfering remains unknown.

'6 Fresh Horrors'

Lily Hay Newman for Wired describes six "fresh horrors" revealed at the hearing:

  1. A suspicious timeline regarding Equifax's knowledge of the breach
  2. Equifax wasn't very good at keeping its systems patched against security breaches
  3. Lack of encryption of personally identifying information
  4. Quarterly security reviews - just four per year
  5. Equifax doesn't know who breached its systems, be it domestic hackers or a foreign country
  6. Equifax built Equifaxsecurity2017.com to use as its consumer notification site about the breach; it's main site at Equifax.com "wasn't up to the task" to handle the influx of traffic

And this is almost funny, but Newman reports that Equifax mistakenly tweeted (more than once, apparently) a phishing link in an attempt to get consumers to its Equifaxsecurity2017.com site, rather than the real thing, which only adds fuel to the fire.

Read more:

6 Fresh Horrors From The Equifax CEO's Congressional Hearing

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