Equifax reports cyber security breach affecting 143 million U.S. consumers

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Credit reporting agency Equifax says cyber criminals exploited a website vulnerability to access confidential information, affecting as many as 143 million U.S. consumers and a number of people in Canada and the United Kingdom.

Equifax said in a statement on Thursday afternoon that criminals exploited a vulnerability on a U.S. website to gain access to certain files from mid-May through July. The agency’s core databases are not believed to have been affected.

According to the company, the criminals primarily accessed information such as names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also accessed credit card numbers for 209,000 U.S. consumers and dispute documents with personal identifying information for 182,000 U.S. consumers.

In addition to U.S. consumers, the investigation also discovered that the criminals gained access to “limited personal information” for certain Canadian and British residents. The company did not immediately disclose how many people in the UK and Canada were affected.

The cyber security breach was discovered on July 29 but not publicly disclosed until Thursday. With at least 143 million people affected, it would make it one of the largest cyber security breaches ever reported, affecting nearly half of the U.S. population.

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