Recent Updates

Equifax Releases Details on Cybersecurity Incident, Announces Personnel Changes

September 15, 2017

ATLANTA — As part of the company’s ongoing review of the cybersecurity incident announced September 7, 2017, Equifax Inc. (NYSE: EFX) today made personnel changes and released additional information regarding its preliminary findings about the incident.

The company announced that the Chief Information Officer and Chief Security Officer are retiring. Mark Rohrwasser has been appointed interim Chief Information Officer. Mr. Rohrwasser joined Equifax in 2016 and has led Equifax’s International IT operations since that time. Russ Ayres has been appointed interim Chief Security Officer. Mr. Ayres most recently served as a Vice President in the IT organization at Equifax. He will report directly to the Chief Information Officer. The personnel changes are effective immediately.

Equifax’s internal investigation of this incident is still ongoing and the company continues to work closely with the FBI in its investigation.

Specific Details of Incident

  • On July 29, 2017, Equifax’s Security team observed suspicious network traffic associated with its U.S. online dispute portal web application. In response, the Security team investigated and blocked the suspicious traffic that was identified.
  • The Security team continued to monitor network traffic and observed additional suspicious activity on July 30, 2017. In response, the company took offline the affected web application that day.
  • The company’s internal review of the incident continued. Upon discovering a vulnerability in the Apache Struts web application framework as the initial attack vector, Equifax patched the affected web application before bringing it back online.
  • On August 2, 2017, Equifax contacted a leading, independent cybersecurity firm, Mandiant, to assist in conducting a privileged, comprehensive forensic review to determine the scope of the intrusion, including the specific data impacted.
  • Over several weeks, Mandiant analyzed available forensic data to identify unauthorized activity on the network.
  • The incident potentially impacts personal information relating to 143 million U.S. consumers – primarily names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers.
    • In addition, credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers, were accessed.
    • Equifax also identified unauthorized access to limited personal information for certain U.K. and Canadian residents and is working with regulators in those countries.
  • With respect to the company’s security posture, Equifax has taken short-term remediation steps, and Equifax continues to implement and accelerate long-term security improvements.

Questions Regarding Apache Struts

  • The attack vector used in this incident occurred through a vulnerability in Apache Struts (CVE-2017-5638), an open-source application framework that supports the Equifax online dispute portal web application.
  • Based on the company’s investigation, Equifax believes the unauthorized accesses to certain files containing personal information occurred from May 13 through July 30, 2017.
  • The particular vulnerability in Apache Struts was identified and disclosed by U.S. CERT in early March 2017.
  • Equifax’s Security organization was aware of this vulnerability at that time, and took efforts to identify and to patch any vulnerable systems in the company’s IT infrastructure.
  • While Equifax fully understands the intense focus on patching efforts, the company’s review of the facts is still ongoing. The company will release additional information when available.

Overview of Consumer Support Response and Recent Developments

The company is fully committed to proactively supporting consumers who may have been impacted by the cybersecurity incident. A timeline of our response includes:

  • The company worked diligently with Mandiant to determine what information was accessed and identify the potentially impacted consumers in order to make an appropriate public disclosure of the incident.
  • As soon as the company understood the potentially impacted population, a comprehensive support package was rolled out to consumers on September 7, 2017.
  • Equifax took the following steps:
    • Created a dedicated website where consumers could understand whether they were impacted, find out more information about the incident and learn how to protect themselves.
    • The company offered free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection to all U.S. consumers, regardless of whether they were definitively impacted.
      • TrustedID Premier includes 3-Bureau credit monitoring of Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion credit reports; copies of Equifax credit reports; the ability to lock and unlock Equifax credit reports; identity theft insurance; and Internet scanning for Social Security numbers.
    • The company has also set up a dedicated call center to assist consumers with questions and signing up for the free offering and has continued to ramp up the call center to reduce wait times.
  • Equifax also provided written notification to all U.S. State Attorneys General and contacted other federal regulators.
  • Since the announcement, Equifax has taken additional actions including:
    • Providing a more prominent and clear link from the main www.equifax.com website to the cybersecurity incident website www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, so that consumers can quickly and easily find the information they need.
    • Tripling the call center team and continuing to add agents, despite facing some difficulty due to Hurricane Irma.
    • Resolving issues with the impact look-up tool.
    • Addressing confusion concerning the arbitration and class-action waiver clauses included in the Terms of Use applicable to the product:
      • The company never intended for these clauses to apply to this cybersecurity incident.
      • Because of consumer concern, the company clarified that those clauses do not apply to this cybersecurity incident or to the complimentary TrustedID Premier offering.
      • The company clarified that the clauses will not apply to consumers who signed up before the language was removed.
    • Clarifying that no credit card information is required to sign up for the product and that consumers will not be automatically enrolled or charged after the conclusion of the complimentary year.
    • Making changes to address consumer concerns regarding security freezes:
      • The company clarified that consumers placing a security freeze will be provided a randomly generated PIN.
      • The company continues to work on technical difficulties related to the high volume of security freeze requests.
      • Consumers who paid for a security freeze starting at 5pm EST on September 7, 2017 will receive a refund.
      • The company agreed to waive fees for removing and placing security freezes through November 21, 2017.

About Equifax

Equifax is a global information solutions company that uses trusted unique data, innovative analytics, technology and industry expertise to power organizations and individuals around the world by transforming knowledge into insights that help make more informed business and personal decisions. The company organizes, assimilates and analyzes data on more than 820 million consumers and more than 91 million businesses worldwide, and its database includes employee data contributed from more than 7,100 employers.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., Equifax operates or has investments in 24 countries in North America, Central and South America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region. It is a member of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500® Index, and its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol EFX. Equifax employs approximately 9,900 employees worldwide.

For More Information

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A Message from Equifax Chairman and CEO, Rick Smith

Equifax Announces Cybersecurity Incident Involving Consumer Information

No Evidence of Unauthorized Access to Core Consumer or Commercial Credit Reporting Databases

Company to Offer Free Identity Theft Protection and Credit File Monitoring to All U.S. Consumers

September 7, 2017 — Equifax Inc. (NYSE: EFX) today announced a cybersecurity incident potentially impacting approximately 143 million U.S. consumers. Criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files. Based on the company’s investigation, the unauthorized access occurred from mid-May through July 2017. The company has found no evidence of unauthorized activity on Equifax’s core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases.

The information accessed primarily includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. In addition, credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers, were accessed. As part of its investigation of this application vulnerability, Equifax also identified unauthorized access to limited personal information for certain UK and Canadian residents. Equifax will work with UK and Canadian regulators to determine appropriate next steps. The company has found no evidence that personal information of consumers in any other country has been impacted.

Equifax discovered the unauthorized access on July 29 of this year and acted immediately to stop the intrusion. The company promptly engaged a leading, independent cybersecurity firm that has been conducting a comprehensive forensic review to determine the scope of the intrusion, including the specific data impacted. Equifax also reported the criminal access to law enforcement and continues to work with authorities. While the company’s investigation is substantially complete, it remains ongoing and is expected to be completed in the coming weeks.

“This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do. I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Richard F. Smith. “We pride ourselves on being a leader in managing and protecting data, and we are conducting a thorough review of our overall security operations. We also are focused on consumer protection and have developed a comprehensive portfolio of services to support all U.S. consumers, regardless of whether they were impacted by this incident.”

Equifax has established a dedicated website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, to help consumers determine if their information has been potentially impacted and to sign up for credit file monitoring and identity theft protection. The offering, called TrustedID Premier, includes 3-Bureau credit monitoring of Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reports; copies of Equifax credit reports; the ability to lock and unlock Equifax credit reports; identity theft insurance; and Internet scanning for Social Security numbers – all complimentary to U.S. consumers for one year. The website also provides additional information on steps consumers can take to protect their personal information. Equifax recommends that consumers with additional questions visit www.equifaxsecurity2017.com or contact a dedicated call center at 866-447-7559 (Click here for an important update on call times due to Hurricane Irma), which the company set up to assist consumers. The call center is open every day (including weekends) from 7:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. Eastern time.

In addition to the website, Equifax will send direct mail notices to consumers whose credit card numbers or dispute documents with personal identifying information were impacted. Equifax also is in the process of contacting U.S. state and federal regulators and has sent written notifications to all U.S. state attorneys general, which includes Equifax contact information for regulator inquiries.

Equifax has engaged a leading, independent cybersecurity firm to conduct an assessment and provide recommendations on steps that can be taken to help prevent this type of incident from happening again.

CEO Smith said, “I’ve told our entire team that our goal can’t be simply to fix the problem and move on. Confronting cybersecurity risks is a daily fight. While we’ve made significant investments in data security, we recognize we must do more. And we will.”

About Equifax

Equifax is a global information solutions company that uses trusted unique data, innovative analytics, technology and industry expertise to power organizations and individuals around the world by transforming knowledge into insights that help make more informed business and personal decisions.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., Equifax operates or has investments in 24 countries in North America, Central and South America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region. It is a member of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500® Index, and its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol EFX. Equifax employs approximately 9,900 employees worldwide.

Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains forward-looking statements and forward-looking information. These statements can be identified by expressions of belief, expectation or intention, as well as estimates and statements that are not historical fact. These statements are based on certain factors and assumptions with respect to the investigation of the cybersecurity incident to date. While the company believes these factors and assumptions to be reasonable based on information currently available, they may prove to be incorrect.

Several factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, the final results of the investigation, including the final scope of the intrusion, the type of information accessed and the number of consumers impacted. A summary of additional risks and uncertainties can be found in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016, including without limitation under the captions “Item 1. Business — Governmental Regulation” and “– Forward-Looking Statements” and “Item 1A. Risk Factors,” and in our other filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Forward-looking statements are given only as at the date of this release and the company disclaims any obligation to update or revise the forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

Contacts:

Ines Gutzmer
Corporate Communications
[email protected]
404-885-8555