Pri­vacy com­mis­sioner launches probe of Equifax data breach

FI­NANCE

National Post (Latest Edition) - - FINANCIAL POST - al sa ek­san­dra gan and ar li Min a gay a

Canada’s pri­vacy watch­dog said Fri­day it has opened an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the mas­sive Equifax Inc. data breach af­ter re­ceiv­ing sev­eral com­plaints and dozens of calls from con­cerned Cana­di­ans.

“The in­ves­ti­ga­tion is a pri­or­ity for our of­fice given the sen­si­tiv­ity of the per­sonal in­for­ma­tion that Equifax holds,” the Of­fice of the Pri­vacy Com­mis­sioner of Canada said in an an­nounce- ment on its web­site.

It added that the credit mon­i­tor­ing com­pany will no­tify all im­pacted Cana­di­ans in writ­ing as soon as pos­si­ble. Equifax is used by many cred­i­tors to get re­ports on con­sumers’ credit his­to­ries, which in­clude in­for­ma­tion such as so­cial in­sur­ance num­bers, credit card num­bers and home ad­dresses.

Equifax said on Sept.7 that it was the vic­tim of a mas­sive cyberattack that may have com­pro­mised the per­sonal data of as many as 143 mil­lion Amer­i­cans and a lim­ited num­ber of Cana­dian and U.K. res­i­dents.

Canada’s pri­vacy watch- dog first said on Tues­day that it was “pri­or­i­tiz­ing” an ex­am­i­na­tion into Equifax’s hack and would work with data pro­tec­tion au­thor­i­ties in Canada af­ter news of the leak was made public, months af­ter it first learned about the breach.

The watch­dog said Tues­day it asked the credit mon­i­tor­ing com­pany to tell Cana­di­ans as soon as pos­si­ble if their in­for­ma­tion was stolen and to adopt mea­sures to help them.

How­ever, in its up­date Fri­day it said that Equifax would not be call­ing in­di­vid­ual con­sumers and warned about po­ten­tial scam phone calls from those try­ing to take ad­van­tage of the breach.

It ad­vised Cana­di­ans to hang up if any­one calls them claim­ing to be af­fil­i­ated with Equifax — re­gard­less of what the caller ID says.

On Fri­day, the com­pany said fewer than 400,000 Bri­tish con­sumer had some of their per­sonal in­for­ma­tion com­pro­mised, but it was more lim­ited in scope and un­likely to lead to iden­tity theft.

Equifax has yet to spec­ify how many in­di­vid­u­als in Canada were im­pacted. Equifax has not re­sponded to mul­ti­ple re­quests for com­ment.

The credit mon­i­tor­ing com­pany’s call cen­tre staff have told call­ers that only Cana­di­ans that have credit files in the U.S. were likely to be im­pacted.

Mean­while, Equifax said Fri­day that two of its se­nior ex­ec­u­tives are leav­ing in the wake of the data loss.

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