Equifax may have left out an important detail when it disclosed the breach that compromised the personal information of 143 million United States consumers. The sources allege that both hacks involved the same intruders, but the company claims they are unrelated. "The incident was reported to customers, affected individuals and regulators", Equifax said in a statement. "This incident was also covered in the media".
"Equifax complied fully with all consumer notification requirements related to the March incident", an Equifax spokesperson said in a statement.
Canada's privacy commissioner, meanwhile, has launched an investigation.
Equifax, the credit monitoring agency that lost personal data of 143 million United States customers in a massive hack in May, has revealed that it was also the victim of an earlier breach in March.
Equifax said the unauthorized access to the information occurred between mid-May and July, and was discovered by the company on July 29.
The earlier breach was serious enough for the company to notify customers, and bring in the information security firm Mandiant to investigate.
In a statement also issued on September 15, Equifax noted that in the United Kingdom (UK) it would likely only to need to contact approximately 400,000 customers about the potential impact of the data breach. "As we continue our investigation into the Equifax breach, it's vital to ensure that consumer data at the other major credit reporting agencies is safe". Equifax has yet to disclose that March breach to the public.
Federal investigations: Equifax is being investigated by both the Department of Justice and the FBI. Shortly after Equifax established its legitimate website, other domains were registered, tricking consumers into using fraudulent websites and putting their personal information at additional risk. Equifax has said it was aware of the vulnerability at the time and took efforts to patch it, however, the hackers used the flaw to steal information months later.
The discovery suggests that the attackers may have been trying to piggyback off of Equifax's connections to large banks and other financial institutions as a backdoor way to hack those entities and gain access to sensitive partner systems.
What sets Equifax's latest breach apart has less to do with numbers - Yahoo's data breach a year ago affected 500 million accounts - and more with the value of the data stolen.
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