According to an official statement from Equifax, reports show that 2.5 million more consumers may have been affected by the data breach that occurred earlier this summer. The new total of consumers potentially affected is near 145.5 million.
Paulino do Rego Barros Jr., the interim chief executive for Equifax, provided the following statement regarding the newly found affected consumer list:
“I was advised Sunday that the analysis of the number of consumers potentially impacted by the cybersecurity incident has been completed, and I directed that the results be promptly released. Our priorities are transparency and improving support for consumers. I will continue to monitor our progress on a daily basis.”
The credit reporting company has recently been criticized for allowing the identifying information of millions of consumers to be released for public viewing; some of the information includes birth dates, Social Security numbers and home addresses, amongst other things. The breach has caused state attorneys general and federal agencies to further investigate the data breach and Equifax’s response to the incident. This new information will not help Equifax’s case, as the company is set to have several rounds of extensive questioning from congressional members.
Richard Smith, the former chief executive at Equifax, will testify before four congressional committees. It is no surprise that the company will be under fire for its lack of cybersecurity and its questionable immediate response to the general public. According to prepared testimony published Oct. 2, Smith claims he was “ultimately responsible for what happened” and is prepared for the consequences that will follow.
The general population has been quite disappointed with the company’s assessment of the situation and its lack of clarity in its initial response. However, after weeks of staying low, Equifax announced it will be offering free credit-monitoring services for an entire year. The company is also trying to implement a new service in 2018 that will allow consumers to freeze and unfreeze their credit information at no cost. It will be interesting to see how the company will progress after this disastrous situation.