Tagged With equifax

Last winter, Equifax experienced one of the most devastating data breaches in history. In an incredible stroke of luck, several executives had dumped their stock in the company prior to the news going public. They were cleared of wrongdoing, but earlier this week, the SEC filed insider trading charges against a different executive for his own fortuitous cash-out.

Equifax discovered on July 29 that it had been hacked, losing the Social Security numbers and other personal information of 143 million Americans - and then just a few days later, several of its executives sold stock worth a total of nearly $US1.8 million ($2.4 million). When the hack was publicly announced in September, Equifax's stock promptly tanked, which made the trades look very, very sketchy.

In awarding a $US7.25 million contract to Equifax to help verify US taxpayers' identities, the Internal Revenue Service set itself up for a massive backlash. But in a letter obtained by Gizmodo on Thursday, IRS chief John Koskinen argues that the circumstance was unavoidable. Not awarding the contract, he writes, would have prevented thousands of hurricane victims from obtaining much needed…tax information.

If you've paid any attention to American news this week, you've probably seen Congress repeatedly taking Equifax's former CEO out to the woodshed. It's been quite the shellacking. And it almost seemed as if we'd finally reached a breaking point. America wasn't going to put up with companies recklessly handling people's private data, losing control over it, saying "sorry", and moving on like it's business as usual any longer.

Equifax's former CEO Richard Smith -- who "retired" after a massive data breach at his company resulted in the theft of personal information for more than 143 million people -- is set to testify before a Congressional subcommittee on consumer protection tomorrow. Smith will be expected to explain exactly how Equifax bungled its response to the hack, and his prepared testimony sheds some light on exactly what went wrong.