On Thursday, the consumer credit reporting company Equifax disclosed a cybersecurity breach that could affect as many as 143 million USA consumers - roughly 44 percent of the us population.
The company said it found no evidence of unauthorized use of its core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases.
Equifax said hackers gained access to systems containing customers' social-security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver's license numbers.
Credit card numbers belonging to roughly 209,000 consumers were also stolen, along with what Equifax calls "dispute documents with personal identifying information" for 182,000 more people.
The credit information agency said the breach happened between mid-May and July.
Equifax said it is now alerting customers whose information was included in the breach via mail, and is working with state and federal authorities.
"We pride ourselves on being a leader in managing and protecting data, and we are conducting a thorough review of our overall security operations", Smith said.
Equifax is one of three nationwide credit-reporting companies that track and rates the financial history of US consumers. It then hired a cybersecurity firm to determine the extent of the intrusion and what damage was done. Equifax states that clients in the United Kingdom and Canada were also affected, so it's working with the authorities in those respective countries, as well as the USA, to "determine appropriate next steps". Equifax is offering identity theft protection and credit monitoring to affected consumers. The website also provides additional information on steps consumers can take to protect their personal information.
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