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Equifax CEO: 'We will make changes'

Equifax CEO Richard F. Smith speaks with Bloomberg News reporters on Thursday, March 15, 2007.
Noah Berger | Bloomberg News | Getty Images
Equifax CEO Richard F. Smith speaks with Bloomberg News reporters on Thursday, March 15, 2007.

Last Thursday evening we announced a cybersecurity breach potentially impacting 143 million U.S. consumers. It was a painful announcement because of the concern and frustration this incident has created for so many consumers. We apologize to everyone affected. This is the most humbling moment in our 118-year history.

Equifax Security first discovered the intrusion on July 29. Understandably, many people are questioning why it took six weeks to report the incident to the public. Shortly after discovering the intrusion, we engaged a leading cybersecurity firm to conduct an investigation.

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At the time, we thought the intrusion was limited. The team, working with Equifax Security personnel, devoted thousands of hours during the following weeks to investigate.

Our top priority is doing everything we can to support affected consumers. Our team is focused on this effort, and we are engaged around the clock in responding to millions of inquiries from consumers. Importantly, outside investigators found no evidence of unauthorized activity on our core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases.

We strongly recommend that every consumer visit our website (www.equifaxsecurity2017.com) to determine if their data is at risk. As of Tuesday, more than 15 million people have visited the website and 11.5 million are enrolling in credit file monitoring and identity theft protection.

We took the unprecedented step of offering credit file monitoring and identity theft protection to every U.S. consumer. Every consumer, whether affected or not, has the option of signing up for the services.

Consumers and media have raised legitimate concerns about the services we offered and the operations of our call center and website. We accept the criticism and are working to address a range of issues.

We are devoting extraordinary resources to make sure this kind of incident doesn't happen again. We will make changes and continue to strengthen our defenses against cyber crimes. We will make sure every consumer who wants protection has a full package of services. And we will continue to update everyone on our progress.

Richard F. Smith is chairman and CEO of Equifax Inc.