Published: Fri, November 10, 2017
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Equifax apologizes again after massive data breach

Equifax apologizes again after massive data breach

The company said Thursday that it had recorded $87.5 million in costs related to the breach in the last quarter.

"We have received requests for information and subpoenas for a number of United States and Federal Regulatory Agencies and several regulatory agencies outside the U.S.", Barros said. The firm said it installed vulnerability-detection tools and hired consultants to improve cybersecurity this year.

"As we report our third-quarter results, we recognize that we have an important journey in front of us to regain the trust and confidence of consumers and our business customers", said Paulino Barros, Equifax's interim chief executive in the release. "We can not assure that all potential causes of the incident have been identified and remediated and will not occur again", it said in a quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Total operating expenses rose 15 percent from a year earlier to $681.9 million.

Free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection subsequently offered to all United States punters from September, cost $4.7m (recorded in the consumer support expenses mentioned above) but will range between $56m and $110m in total - customers have until the 31 January to sign up to this. The global consumer business, which sells credit-monitoring and identity-protection tools, posted little change in revenue. The breach attracted scrutiny from lawmakers in Washington and criticism from consumers and banks, igniting a debate about the role credit bureaus play in lending.

The incident has spurred government investigations and led to calls for new regulations.

The Atlanta company reported a 27 percent slump in third-quarter profit, largely due to a hack that exposed the personal information of 145 million Americans. Any negative audit results could result in a loss of customers, Equifax warned in the filing. "And to date, we do not have any evidence that we can probably add problem activity to data stolen from Equifax".

Shares of Equifax, which reported after the closing bell, were down a penny in aftermarket trading at $108.94. Tax and finance costs left Equifax nursing 27.4 per cent decline in net profit to $96.3m.

Adjusted for one-time costs, such as hacking- and merger-related expenses, Equifax said it earned $1.53 per share, topping analysts' average estimates by 4 cents. The company expects revenue of $825 million to $835 million, compared to the average analyst forecast of $833.65 million. Equifax said the database intrusion continued until July, exposing the bevy of information that Equifax holds.

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