On March 2, 2018, consumer credit reporting giant Equifax revealed that it expects the financial impact of the infamous 2017 data breach to accrue to USD 275 million. The total cost incurred due to the breach is expected to amount to USD 439 million by the end of this year.
Larry Ponemon, Chairman of the Ponemon Institute, stated in an interview with Reuters, that the Equifax incident could be the “most expensive data breach in history”.
In September last year, Equifax revealed that a breach, discovered on July 29, exposed 143 million consumer accounts. A statement issued by Equifax stated that criminals exploited a website application vulnerability.
The compromised data included customers’ social security numbers and dates of birth. In addition to this, the breach exposed over 209,000 credit card accounts and 182,000 dispute documents.
Equifax disclosed that forensics experts had determined that the attackers were predominately focused on stealing social security numbers.
Paulino do Rego Barros, Jr., Interim CEO at Equifax clarified that the incident is not about newly discovered stolen data. In a bid to restore its customers’ goodwill, Equifax will be offering identity theft protection and credit file monitoring services at no cost to the affected customers.