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Equifax experienced a data breach that occurred in mid-May 2017, was first discovered on 29 Jul 2017, and was publicly disclosed by the company on 07 Sep 2017. The breach affected 143 million individuals in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Immediately after the disclosure Equifax faced widespread criticism from the media, researchers and customers. There have also been allegations of insider trading and legal implications. In our paper Equifax Breach: Lessons Learned for Your Organizations, we outline how the events surrounding the breach demonstrate several important learning points organizations can use to inform their own security posture.
The largest immediate impact to Equifax was loss of investor confidence; the share price dropped 34 percent within eight days after the breach disclosure. The company also risks revenue loss resulting from reduced business, especially considering customers’ loss of confidence in the company to secure data. As with all data breaches, Equifax will also incur financial losses through its responsive investigations and, likely, costs resulting from lawsuits.
Swift public criticism followed around Equifax’s security posture, its handling of the breach and the exposure of the sensitive customer data. Some employees have been accused of insider trading, and others have reportedly left their positions, such as the chief security officer and chief information officer. Reputational damage may have a mid- to long-term effect on the company’s revenue generation and a prolonged impact on its finances.
The key lessons organizations can learn from this event are:
Download a copy of our paper to learn more about the impact of the breach and the lessons organizations can learn at three different stages: pre-breach, post-discovery and post-disclosure.