US credit score giant Equifax poised for biggest daily drop in 20 years after massive data breach
Friday, 8 September 2017 Equifax Inc (NYSE:EFX) was pummelled in after-hours trading in th US after the credit score provider said more than 140mln customers may have had their personal details stolen in a cyber-security breach. The Atlanta-based firm, which has a market value of US$17.5bn, said hackers gained access to the records of as many as 143mln people between mid-May and July when it discovered the breach. Potentially biggest data breach in US history If that figure is confirmed, it would make it one of the biggest ever data hacks in the United States. Equifax said in a statement website application vulnerability allowed the criminals to get their hands on sensitive personal data such as social security numbers, birth dates and addresses. On top of that, the credit card numbers of around 209,000 US customers were accessed. Information on some UK and Canadian residents was also gained. Equifax said it has hired a cybersecurity firm and was working with law enforcement agencies to get to the bottom of the hack. It added that the in-depth investigation was “sUBStantially complete” and should be completed within the next few weeks. Perhaps more troubling for Equifax were the reports that three top executives, including the group’s chief financial officer John Gamble, sold shares worth almost US$18mln shortly after the breach was discovered. In a statement, Equifax told investors that the executives were not aware that an intrusion had occurred when they disposed of some of their stock. The effects of the data breach were also felt by Equifax’s UK peer Experian PLC (LON:EXPN), which was the biggest faller on the FTSE 100 on Friday morning; down 2% to £14.90. Regulators could be forced to get involved “This is one of the most significant data breaches ever and by far the most significant in the credit bureaux industry,” said analysts at UBS. “We believe it is likely to result in attention from regulators (CFPB), businesses, and consumers on both Equifax's, and the wider industry's (including Experian's), storage and protection of consumer data. Despite the uncertainty that tighter regulations could bring, they think Equifax’s troubles could benefit the likes of Experian. “This could cause regulatory uncertainty for Experian in the near-term or lead to higher security costs, but equally disruption at a competitor could have benefits as well.” Equifax shares lost 13.1% of their value in after-hours trade to sit at US$124. --Updates for UBS comment--
Equifax stock is plunging just one day after company revealed a massive data breach. On Thursday evening, Equifax announced that personal details, including names and Social Security numbers, of more than 143 million customers were potentially accessed by hackers from mid-May to July. The company...
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