Former Equifax CEO apologizes for hack

Former Equifax CEO apologizes for hack”

House Republicans and Democrats on Tuesday grilled Equifax's former chief executive over the massive data hack of the personal information of 145 million Americans, calling the company's response inadequate as consumers struggle to deal with the breach.

Following that thought in the questioning, Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) asked Smith, "Do I own my data?"

"This could have been avoided if you had taken the simple step of doing security patches", said Brown. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.) said, stressing he wasn't paid for the information in the first place. But the "vulnerable versions" of the software were not identified or patched, Smith said.

The $7.25 million no-bid contract to Equifax was posted the last day of the fiscal year, Saturday, on the government's Federal Business Opportunities database.

Wednesday marked the second time this week that Smith appeared on Capitol Hill.

Equifax keeps a trove of consumer data for banks and other creditors who want to know whether a customer is likely to default.

While Smith pointed to a lifetime credit lock for Equifax credit reports, all he could do with the other two credit bureaus, Experian and TransUnion, was suggest they offer a similar service.

While Equifax's old CEO testifies in front of Congress, the company laid out a lucrative new salary package for its new CEO, Paulino Barros, Jr.

Lawmakers from both parties said it's time to enact tougher rules for data security. "Because of this breach, consumers will spend the rest of their lives worrying about identity theft", she said.

"The incentives in this industry are completely out-of-whack", Warren added.

"We went from 500 call center agents to a need of nearly 3,000", Smith said. "You can't run your business without me", he said.

Equifax's ex-CEO faced a barrage of criticism from Congress on Tuesday during a relentless hearing that lasted more than three hours - but was reluctant to give new details about how 145.5 million people had their information stolen.

"Equifax was entrusted with Americans' private data and we let them down", Smith said.

Smith described the executives as "honorable men, men of integrity".

That defense was met with skepticism by several lawmakers. There may have been no intention to commit insider trading, said Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) said.

Equifax's former chief executive will face the Senate Banking Committee today at 10 a.m. EDT. The company sent out an internal email requesting that the problem be fixed, but that was not done, Smith told lawmakers. The company waited until September to announce that the vital personal information of at least 143 million people had been exposed.

The company then struggled to respond to the backlash. And the efforts to help consumers had a series of missteps.

Newly retired Equifax CEO Richard Smith told House members: "As CEO, I was ultimately responsible for what happened on my watch, ". "I regret the frustration that many Americans felt when our websites and call centers were overwhelmed in the early weeks".

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