Why wasn't the Equifax data encrypted?

Data loss after hacker attack: Equifax pays fines of up to $ 700 million

The US scoring company Equifax has settled several lawsuits related to the hacker attack and data loss in 2017 with an out-of-court settlement. It pays at least $ 575 million in damages, which can go up to $ 700 million. The agreement affects legal action by the Federal Trade Commission, several states in the United States, and a class action lawsuit filed by consumers.

Equifax pays $ 300 million into a fund that will finance credit monitoring services for affected customers. Compensation also goes to customers who paid for such services out of their own pocket after the incident two years ago or who had other related expenses. Should the $ 300 million not be enough, Equifax pledged to provide an additional $ 125 million.

In addition, starting January 2020, consumers will receive six free credit reports each year for a period of seven years. So far, those affected were only entitled to a total of one free credit report.

Eventually, Equifax pledged to pay an additional $ 175 million to 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was also fined $ 100 million.

In September 2017, Equifax, which is comparable to the German Schufa, admitted a hacker attack in which data from at least 143 million US citizens was stolen. The perpetrators broke into the company's systems as early as March 2017, triggering the largest data theft in US history. The break-in was facilitated, among other things, because Equifax had failed to install a security patch that had been available for two months.

In addition to the payments that have now been agreed, the incident had significant consequences for Equifax. The then CEO Richard Smith resigned as early as 2017. Equifax also invested hundreds of millions of dollars in improving its own IT security and cybersecurity insurance. As a further consequence, the company's credit rating even deteriorated.

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