No empathy for former Equifax CEO at House hearing

"I want to apologize again to all impacted consumers", Paulino do Rego Barros, Jr., Equifax's newly appointed interim CEO, said in a statement. "I'm truly and deeply sorry for what happened", he said in his opening remarks.

These words did not seem to mollify the members of Congress, who may have found, in Equifax, one thing that Democrats and Republicans can agree on.

Following the cyber breach at Equifax that compromised the personal information of millions, cyber security firm, Mandiant conducted an independent review to find the actual number of people affected by the issue.

His office is leading a joint investigation into Equifax's data breach that now involves his counterparts in 46 other states, Shapiro said.

Even then, the company's website was confusing to people, because it offered some free services to victims of the data breach while also advertising similar paid services at the same time.

The breach compromised some of our most sensitive personal information, including Social Security numbers, addresses, and driver's license numbers. In its financial filings, it said it relies "extensively" on the "voluntary contribution on credit data from most lenders in the U.S".

When questioned by the House subcommittee on the matter of executives selling shares just days after the breach was discovered, he said they did not know about the breach "to the best of my knowledge".

Smith said the company had a protocol in place to check for security breaches, but it wasn't followed. "Equifax had the confidence of Americans in order to protect their personal data and we have failed", said the former officer, who remained at the head of the group for twelve years.

The latest disclosure comes as former CEO Rick Smith is set to testify in Washington before a trio of committees about the data breach. "I think it's time at the federal level that we put some teeth into this", he said, referring to data security legislation. They have made themselves indispensable to the smooth functioning of the USA economy by collecting reams of essential information about consumers - without their consent - and selling it to banks, auto dealers, mortgage lenders and other companies that deal with the public in some way. Walden compared the breach to a robbery at Fort Knox, saying Equifax had "forgot to lock the doors and failed to notice the thieves were emptying the vaults".

Smith said that fix was not applied quickly enough. The first hearing began Tuesday at 10 a.m. ET. On Wednesday, Smith will testify twice - before the Senate Banking Committee and a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on privacy.

Representatives for Schakowsky directed questions to the spokesman for the House committee handling the investigation, who didn't return an email seeking comment.

The IRS has suffered its own embarrassing breaches, with the agency announcing on 6 April that the personal data of up to 100,000 USA taxpayers could have been compromised.

  • Zachary Reyes