Credit firm ad­mits data of 400,000 Bri­tons may have been hacked

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Amelia Mur­ray

EQUIFAX has fi­nally ad­mit­ted that the data of up to 400,000 UK con­sumers might have been stolen in the mas­sive data breach last week.

The firm said in­for­ma­tion about some Bri­tish peo­ple had in­ad­ver­tently been stored in Amer­ica and that these de­tails had “po­ten­tially” been stolen in the at­tack. The credit scor­ing firm said it would write to “fewer than 400,000” UK con­sumers to “of­fer them ap­pro­pri­ate ad­vice and a range of ser­vices to help safe­guard and re­as­sure them”.

For the past week Equifax has re­fused to say how many Bri­tish cit­i­zens may have had their data com­pro­mised. It did re­veal that hack­ers had ex­posed the per­sonal data of 143 mil­lion cus­tomers in the US, which had been un­law­fully ac­cessed be­tween mid-may and July this year thanks to a vul­ner­a­bil­ity on its web­site.

Yes­ter­day it said its UK sys­tems had not been af­fected but that a “process fail­ure” had led to a file con­tain­ing in­for­ma­tion about Bri­tish con­sumers be­ing stored in the US be­tween 2011 and 2016. This file, which con­tained names, dates of birth, email ad­dresses and tele­phone num­bers, may have been un­law­fully ac­cessed, the com­pany ad­mit­ted. It said the file did not in­clude ad­dresses, pass­words or fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion.

Equifax said it be­lieved “iden­tity takeover is un­likely”, but it would be of­fer­ing “re­as­sur­ance and pro­tec­tion” to any­one whose in­for­ma­tion had been ac­cessed. The firm said it would be writ­ing to UK con­sumers to of­fer them a free iden­tity pro­tec­tion ser­vice, to en­able them to mon­i­tor their per­sonal data. It will “in­cor­po­rate web and so­cial me­dia mon­i­tor­ing” to alert peo­ple to pub­licly avail­able in­for­ma­tion on them.

Last night Equifax an­nounced its chief in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer and chief se­cu­rity of­fi­cer would be leav­ing the com­pany with im­me­di­ate ef­fect. It did not name them, but they are be­lieved to be David Webb and Su­san Mauldin.

Pa­tri­cio Re­mon, president of Equifax, said: “We apol­o­gise for this fail­ure to pro­tect UK con­sumer data.”

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