IRS Signs Multimillion-Dollar Deal With Equifax Despite Data Breach

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Former Equifax CEO Richard Smith answered questions for three hours before Congress on Tuesday, but offered little new information for consumers concerned about perhaps the most important hack of personal information in America's history.

Recently-and-forcibly-retired Equifax CEO Rick Smith has laid the blame for his credit-check biz's IT security breach on a single member of the company's security team.

"To each and every person affected by this breach, I am deeply sorry that this occurred", Smith said in his prepared remarks.

Earlier this month, the credit reporting company announced that crucial, identifying information belonging to almost half the country may have been compromised, including birth dates, home addresses and Social Security numbers.

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The review adds about 2.5 million Americans to the list of those affected by the massive cyber attack, bringing the total number of people in the USA potentially impacted to 145.5 million.

"The human error was the individual who is responsible for communicating in the organisation to apply the patch, did not", Smith told the subcommittee at around the 1:05:15 mark in the video below.

During one intriguing portion of the hearing, US Rep. Jan Schakowsky said that the chief information officer, David Webb, had been informed by Chief Security Officer Susan Mauldin that consumers' sensitive data was compromised by the hack, according to a call that aides had with Mauldin on Monday.

While speaking to the committee (video below), former CEO Richard Smith outlined the company's normal procedure for new patches: Have a technician install it and then scan the system for any remaining vulnerabilities. "At this time, we have seen no indications of tax fraud related to the Equifax breach, but we will continue to closely monitor the situation".

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The partnership between the IRS and Equifax, which have both been hit by high-profile data breaches, received bipartisan flak from Senate and House members. The company said it would update the database with the names of the additional millions of potentially affected consumers by October 8. But he said, "I don't think I can pass a law that, excuse me for saying, fixes stupid".

In most cases, it's the financial institution that's responsible for fraudulent charges made to a customer's account - regardless of where their personal information was hacked. By August, Equifax was aware of the scale of the breach, Smith said. Lawmakers pondered over how to prevent similar breaches in the future, but focused on the company's failure in what might be the hearing's iconic quote: "How does this happen when so much is at stake?"

"I guess I want them to suffer even more than all of the regular people that are suffering since they did such a bad job", Reichmeier said. He stepped down on September 25, in the wake of the data breach. Representative Gene Green said that the company ought to be "shut down", comparing it to a restaurant that failed regular health inspections.

Equifax said Mandiant also found no evidence of unauthorized activity on databases located outside of the United States.

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