News Worms
News Worms


Congress grills former Equifax, Yahoo CEOs over identity data breaches

Yahoo and Equifax are going to need a lot of sorry cards.

In response to questioning, former Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer said customers should own their data.

At least 145.5 million USA consumers were affected by a separate attack on credit reporting company Equifax, an attack that has already been scrutinized heavily by regulators.

Equifax, a credit-monitoring agency, lost 145 million Americans' social security numbers and personal information, a data breach that will affect more than half the U.S. population for generations. Also testifying will be a witness with expertise on protecting financial data.

She was joined by the interim CEO of Equifax, Paulino Barros, Jr., who took over after hackers exposed the personal information of 145 million Americans. Verizon closed its $4.5 billion acquisition of Yahoo in June, when Mayer resigned from the company.

One of those suspected hackers, Karim Baratov, has even been arrested and extradited to the US.

"As CEO, these thefts occurred during my tenure, and I want to sincerely apologize to each and every one of our users", she told the Senate Commerce Committee, which had called on her and on Equifax executives to discuss their recent incidents.

All 3 billion of Yahoo's users as of 2013 were affected by the hack, which the company only became aware of in December 2016. She said "really aggressive" pursuit of hackers was needed to discourage the efforts, and that even the most well-defended companies "could fall victim to these crimes".

"Apologize deeply to American public for breach that we had", added former Equifax CEO Richard Smith. That includes a credit-monitoring app that will be available in January, and free credit locks from the company. But the new priority on security hasn't changed the root of the problem for both companies.

"Yahoo worked closely with law enforcement, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who were ultimately able to identify and expose the hackers responsible for the attacks", she said. Smith said Equifax decided not to encrypt its massive database of sensitive data because it felt its firewalls and layers of security were enough.

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., the committee chairman, said 48 states have separate laws governing how and when companies must notify consumers of a breach.

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