More than one-third of Equifax's United Kingdom records may have been exposed

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CREDIT monitoring company Equifax has admitted nearly 700,000 United Kingdom consumers had personal information accessed in a cyber attack.

The US-based company said 14.5 million of the records breached, which dated from 2011 to 2016, did not contain information that put British consumers at risk.

In one of the biggest data breaches in USA history, Equifax originally reported that cyber criminals between mid-May and late July had accessed the personal information on roughly 145.5m people, mostly in America, including social security numbers, birth dates and addresses.

However, the firm has now revealed that data belonging to the 15,000 customers, who had their Equifax membership details accessed, did indeed include Equifax passwords, secret questions and answers, and partial credit card details.

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Equifax said last month that as many as 100,000 Canadians had been affected by the breach.

The survey, sponsored by CyberScout, also found that more than 49 percent of respondents were confused about what to do after receiving a breach notification.

Initially, the company said that information on potentially 400,000 United Kingdom consumers had been accessed. Equifax says it already started notifying these customers by post mail.

Patricio Remon, Equifax's president for Europe, said: "Once again, I would like to extend my most honest apologies to anyone who has been concerned about or impacted by this criminal act".

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It said the initial estimate "was preliminary and did not materialise" and that the company planned to mail notifications to those affected with information about free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services.

"We are aware that Equifax was the victim of a criminal cyber attack in May 2017".

The incident sparked mass scrutiny of Equifax, and several executives, including the company's CEO, have resigned.

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