Equifax triggers debate on standards

Getty Images

U.s. lawmakers have questioned the former head of the credit score company Equifax about a cyber attack that may have exposed the personal information of more than 145 million people.

Richard Smith, who retired last week, she apologized repeatedly for the failure.

Some of the Congressmen members of the commission said we need to enact stronger data protection laws and a symbol of the re-thinking of the role of the credit agencies.

Others told of different rules would not have been enough to prevent this hack.

Equifax has said about 145.5 million people in the united states, 400,000 in the uk and almost 8,000 in Canada may have had their data compromised in the attacks that occurred between May and July.

The Hackers took advantage of a software vulnerability that Equifax was warned in March and failed to address.

At the hearing in Washington on Tuesday, Mr Smith said it took the firm weeks to establish the extent of the attack after it identified suspicious activity in the month of July.

Representative Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat, said the attack should prompt a broader dialogue on the credit bureaus, which collect credit data of consumers of business often without people knowing it.

“Equifax deserves to be shamed in this hearing, but we should also ask what Congress has done or not done to stop data breaches that occur,” he said.

New rules may face opposition in Washington, where the President of the united states, Donald Trump, and many Republicans often less regulation.

Representative Greg Walden, an Oregon Republican, said that companies have a responsibility to protect the data in accordance with the legislation in force. He asked how to force new rules could be in incidents like this.

“I can’t fix stupid,” he said.Legal claims

But the Democrats and Republicans on the subcommittee of energy and commerce, the audience were united in their anger.

Representative Joe Barton, a Republican from Texas, said he wants a federal law that would penalise companies in the event of attacks.

“I think that is the moment at the federal level to put some teeth in this,” he said

Equifax is facing lawsuits in dozens of states by the breach, which exposed data, including dates of birth, Social security numbers and credit card information.

Three Equifax executives sold millions of dollars worth of shares after the attack was detected on July 29, but before it was made public.

However, Mr. Smith said that they were not aware at the time that the personal information had been stolen.