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Senator to former Equifax CEO: Don't repeat Wells Fargo's mistakes

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Former Equifax CEO Richard Smith came under harsh questioning Wednesday at a hearing of the Senate Banking Committee the second of three congressional hearings on Equifax being held this week

The consumer credit-score company disclosed on October 2 that an additional 2.5 million people were affected. "Instead, this additional population of consumers was confirmed during Mandiant's completion of the remaining investigative tasks and quality assurance procedures built into the investigative process". "The scale of this hack was enormous and we struggled with the initial effort to meet the challenges that effective remediation posed", Smith said.

Several lawmakers on Wednesday also questioned why Equifax had been granted a contract with the Internal Revenue Service to help verify taxpayer data.

On a website for affected USA consumers, Equifax explains that the complex and time-consuming investigation is behind the delay between its discovery of the breach and disclosing it.

However the number of customers hit in some markets may be less than previously thought - as the report claims that only 8,000 Canadians were affected, not the 100,000 originally reported.

Federal and state officials are probing the breach and potential executive insider trading.

It was the second congressional hearing in as many days where Smith has attempted to explain the scandal that occurred at one of the three main credit reporting companies.

This summer, a breach at the credit bureau Equifax compromised Social Security numbers and other sensitive data on more than 145 million people.

Smith challenged Equifax competitors TransUnion and Experian to come up with a similar system.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said that companies should have to pay "severe" penalties whenever a consumer's personal data gets stolen, in order to ensure that similar lapses in cybersecurity don't continue.

"This is not a company that deserves to be trusted with Americans' personal data", said Brown.

Smith was Equifax's CEO for a dozen years. So far, over 7.5 million people affected by the Equifax breah have signed up for the free monitoring.

Politicians from opposing parties have hit out at the IRS for handing the contract to Equifax.

Federal agencies, state officials and members of Congress are now probing Equifax over its data security practices, customer service response and the possibility of insider trading from executives. The designation also means the government doesn't need to open up a competitive bidding process to let other companies make a pitch. An IRS spokesperson said the agency was preparing to address the contract with a statement but did not immediately have one available.

Former Equifax CEO Richard Smith testifying before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Tuesday.

"As CEO I was ultimately responsible for what happened on my watch". NY has also issued a subpoena in regards to the massive breach and the city of San Francisco has opened up a lawsuit against Equifax on behalf of the 15 million Californians affected by the hack.

It's already been sued by the state of MA and by individuals across the country.

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