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Senators demand Equifax answer questions about massive hack

Leaders of Senate Finance Committee want to know what executives knew about the security breach and when.

Online Security
Senators want to know when Equifax knew about its massive data breach exposing personal information for as many as 143 million people in the US, including names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses of customers.
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A pair of influential US senators sent a letter to Equifax CEO Rick Smith on Monday demanding answers to detailed questions about the massive hack that exposed sensitive financial information for as many as 143 million Americans.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and ranking committee member Sen. Ron Wyden are seeking details such as the timeline for the security breach and when the company became aware of it. They also asked for information about when authorities and board members were informed of the hack, including three executives who sold shares in the days after the hack was discovered.

Equifax didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.  

The prominent credit-reporting firm revealed Thursday that hackers made off with a treasure trove of financial data from as many as 143 million people in the US, including names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses of customers. Equifax learned about the breach on July 29 but didn't reveal it for more than a month.

The senators' letter comes as other lawmakers expressed similar concerns. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia), the vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called Equifax's revelation "profoundly troubling" and suggested it was time for Congress to weigh in on stronger data protection standards for consumers.

The senators specifically want to know details of nearly $1.8 million in stock sales made by Equifax executives, including the company's chief financial officer, three days after the breach was discovered and several weeks before it was made public.

Equifax has denied the executives sold their shares based on insider information, which would be a violation of Securities and Exchange Commission rules.

The letter asks Smith to respond by September 28.

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