TwitterFacebookPinterestGoogle+

Equifax to pay up to $700M in data breach settlement

NEW YORK (AP) — Equifax will pay at least $700 million — and potentially much more — to settle lawsuits over a 2017 data breach that exposed the Social Security numbers and similar sensitive information of roughly half of the U.S. population.

The settlement with federal authorities and states , reached Monday, includes up to $425 million in monetary relief to consumers, a $100 million civil penalty, and other offers to the nearly 150 million people who could have been affected. It can’t, however, guarantee safety for individuals whose stolen information could circulate on the internet for decades.

The breach was one of the largest ever to threaten Americans’ private information. The credit reporting company didn’t notice the intruders targeting its databases, who exploited a known security vulnerability that Equifax hadn’t fixed, for more than six weeks.

The compromised data included Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver license numbers, credit card numbers and in some cases, data from passports. The resulting scandal led to the abrupt dismissal of Equifax’s then-CEO and many other executives at the company.

“Companies that profit from personal information have an extra responsibility to protect and secure that data,” said Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joe Simons. “Equifax failed to take basic steps that may have prevented the breach.”

Equifax CEO Mark Begor said in a statement that the settlement “reinforces our commitment to putting consumers first and safeguarding their data.”

Consumer advocates were generally positive on the settlement, but had concerns about its timescale. Claims can only be filed for the next four years, but the thieves stole permanently identifiable information like Social Security numbers and birthdates, the data could be used for decades to commit identity theft.

“What happens if a consumer is the victim of ID theft in the fifth year resulting from the breach, which costs the consumer tens of thousands of dollars?” said Chi Chi Wu, staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center.

Shares of Equifax, which plunged 30% following disclosure of the breach, have since made up that drop. On Monday, Equifax stock price closed at $137.84 — not far from its price of $141.45, where it was trading just before the breach was disclosed on Sept. 7, 2017. Business analysts say the settlement will remove a cloud of uncertainty over Equifax’s business.

It also, however, underscores that U.S. consumers are still at the mercy of the credit-reporting companies when it comes to protecting their crucial personal details. Two years after the breach, Equifax, along with its competitors TransUnion and Experian, remain the primary repositories of the data that banks use to make credit decisions.

They face little regulation and disclose few details about their operations, despite promises to tighten security and rebuild consumer trust. Ordinary people have no easy way to opt out of the data collection that lands their personal details in corporate databases.

Equifax’s CEO said he has seen zero evidence the stolen data has appeared for sale on the so-called “dark web” and no evidence of an increased identity theft because of the breach. The company did not provide any evidence to back up that claim.

Security experts said there’s really no way to know, especially in the absence of third-party validation. “You cannot determine with certainty that the information will never wind up in the hands of people who are going to use it,” said Ryan Calo, a law professor at the University of Washington.

“It is a lifetime risk exposure,” said Rich Mogull, CEO of the security firm Securosis, who added that the data might be useful for surreptitious uses beyond direct identity fraud.
Settlement payments will flow through a number of complex channels. Equifax will initially pay $380.5 million into a fund to cover identity theft resulting from the breach, as well as any costs related to credit monitoring. The company will pay an additional $125 million if victims’ out-of-pocket expenses deplete the initial fund.

Should all 147 million victims sign up for credit monitoring services, Equifax could potentially be on the hook for $2 billion.

Equifax will offer victims of the breach free credit monitoring services for up to 10 years, identity-restoration services for seven years, and six Equifax credit reports annually for the next seven years. That’s on top of the free report all credit reporting companies must offer U.S. residents every year.

Victims can also seek up to $125 as a reimbursement for the cost of a credit-monitoring product of their choice. Consumers must submit claims for free credit monitoring or cash reimbursements. The settlement received preliminary approval from a federal judge Monday, and claims can start processing Tuesday.

Equifax will have to spend at least $1 billion over five years to enhance its cybersecurity practices and will owe a $100 million fine to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and tens of millions of dollars to states and territories to settle their lawsuits.

For information on the terms of the settlement, as well as to file a claim, potential victims should go to https://www.equifaxbreachsettlement.com .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

VIDEO NEWS

National Politics

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Florida’s Randy Ross to Present “Grassroots Wins Elections” in Silicon Valley Sunday

SILICON VALLEY, Ca. (FNN NEWS) - Following a trend seen in the past year, a…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

California governor signs law to limit shootings by police

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Spurred by the fatal police shooting of a young unarmed black…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Omar: Go to Israel, see ‘cruel reality of the occupation’

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib sharply criticized Israel…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

[OPINION] Epstein: Suicide or Murder?

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - According to the Bureau of Prisons, on the morning of…

STATE & LOCAL POLITICS

Rick Singh, 2019 State of Orange County Real Estate Lean into Tech

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Nearly 1,000 attendees filled Orange County Property Appraiser (OCPA) Rick…

Governor DeSantis: Florida Joins 29 States in Enhancing Voter Registration

ORLANDO, Fla. – (FNN NEWS) - On Wednesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced at the…

Hunger, Hospitality and Trafficking Dominate Orange County Board Meeting

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - The Orange County Board of County Commissioners saw hunger, hospitality…

Governor DeSantis Announces New Health Plans for State Retirees that Offer Access to Affordable, High-Quality Care

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Governor Ron DeSantis announced today that new health plan options will be…

FNN SPORTS

  • WR Quadree Henderson runs the ball for the New York Giants after a catch during the first half against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on November 25, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo: Getty Images.
    JACKSONVILLE (FNN SPORTS) - Jaguars Sign Quadree Henderson and Davis Tull, Cut Two

MORE SPORTS NEWS

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Camping World Kickoff: Gators Chomp Hurricanes 24-20 in High Octane Rivalry

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) - The University of Florida Gators and the University of Miami…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

MLS Recap: Orlando City Falls 1-0 to Atlanta United

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Friday's matchup with Orlando City SC and Atlanta United FC…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Jaguars Sign Quadree Henderson and Davis Tull, Cut Two

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed second-year WR Quadree Henderson and second-year LB Davis Tull,…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Special Olympics Athletes Unite to Inspire and Design 2022 Special Olympics USA Games Logo

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Source: Special Olympics // Today, the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games Organizing Committee…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Jaguars Launch New Mobile App and Introduce Secure Digital Ticketing

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars today introduced an all-new mobile app through a partnership…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Orlando Pride Defender Toni Pressley Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) - Source: Orlando Pride // Orlando Pride defender Toni Pressley has…

BUSINESS NEWS

MORE BUSINESS NEWS

Mass Shootings Give Rise to Bullet-Resistant Backpacks

NEW YORK (AP) — Companies like Guard Dog Security, TuffyPacks and Bullet Blocker are peddling…

Universal Orlando Resort Reveals Passholder Appreciation Days Perks

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Source: Universal // Universal Orlando Resort revealed that for the…

Orlando Continues to Support Small Businesses

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Small businesses play such an important role in the economies…

S&P 500 posts its worst week of 2019 as trade tensions flare

Investors rattled by President Donald Trump’s latest escalation in his trade war with China drove…

ID theft stings, but it’s hard to pin on specific data hacks

NEW YORK (AP) — Equifax 2017. Marriott 2018. Capital One 2019. Data breaches through hacking attacks…

Apple Announces New Batch of Emojis on World Emoji Day

Cupertino, CA (FNN NEWS) — July 17th is National Emoji Day! What better way to celebrate…

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

  • LAS VEGAS (AP) - All in for riches: World Series of Poker marks 50th run

MORE ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

Universal Orlando Resort Reveals Passholder Appreciation Days Perks

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Source: Universal // Universal Orlando Resort revealed that for the…

Orange TV Shines throughout a Quarter Century of Excellence

In 1995, when Orange TV began as a 24-hour broadcast station that televised programming related…

Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison Dead at 88

NEW YORK (AP) — Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, a pioneer and reigning giant of modern…

US presidential envoy sent to Sweden for A$AP Rocky’s trial

HELSINKI (AP) — American rapper A$AP Rocky pleaded not guilty to assault as his trial…

Photos: Wall Street Plaza Comes Alive with Orlando City Viewing Party & MLS All-Star Concert

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) - Soccer fans from all over the world gathered at Wall…

Man in A$AP Rocky case allegedly hit with bottle, kicked

HELSINKI (AP) — The man allegedly assaulted by American rapper A$AP Rocky and two other…

LIFESTYLE: TRAVEL, TOURISM, THEME PARKS

MORE LIFESTYLE NEWS

Rick Singh, 2019 State of Orange County Real Estate Lean into Tech

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Nearly 1,000 attendees filled Orange County Property Appraiser (OCPA) Rick…

Lavish Orlando Boat Show Returns to Orange County Convention Center

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - The Orlando Boat Show has taken over the Orange County…

City of Orlando Re-Opens Constitution Green Park

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Residents and their dogs gathered in Downtown Orlando to be…

[VIDEO] Exclusive: Orlando Flash Flooding Causes Stalled Cars and Traffic Delays at Fashion Square

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - One of Florida’s typical “afternoon monsoons,” in this case a…

Universal Orlando Resort Reveals Passholder Appreciation Days Perks

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Source: Universal // Universal Orlando Resort revealed that for the…

[Cannabis 101] Bud Fact Sheet: Afghan Kush

If you're pursuing medical marijuana for your wellbeing, you may think all marijuana is created…