Equifax apologizes again after massive data breach


Equifax executives testified Wednesday to a U.S. Senate committee on the breach, with acting CEO Paulino do Rego Barros Jr. responding to one inquiry that he did not know whether the company is now encrypting data in its databases that house consumer credit information, while emphasizing the company uses multiple techniques besides encryption to guard against hackers.

Excluding the impact of expenses related to the data hack and other one-time gains and costs, Equifax's earnings amounted to $1.53 per share. Furthermore, you reported that only 30 million individuals have utilized the website Equifax created as the primary means by which consumers can learn if they were impacted and access the limited services your company is offering to help them protect themselves. Profits, however, were down 27 percent from the previous year at $96.3 million - in large part due to the breach. The global consumer business, which sells credit-monitoring and identity-protection tools, posted little change in revenue.

The Equifax data breach that compromised the personal information of roughly 145 million Americans this year will likely cost the company upwards of $140 million in 2017, according to the credit rating agency.

The company is now facing state and federal investigations as well as class-action lawsuits over the breach and has offered free credit monitoring to members of the general public, regardless of whether their information was stolen. 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. Any negative audit results could result in a loss of customers, Equifax warned in the filing.

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EFX shares fell 0.4% after the bell Thursday. It has slumped 24 percent since the hack was disclosed.

Analysts on Friday's call probed Equifax for further details on its recovery effort. The company expects revenue of $825 million to $835 million, compared to the average analyst forecast of $833.65 million. The average estimate of 14 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for adjusted profit of $1.49 a share.

Revenue was weaker for the period as Equifax raked in $834.8 million over the three months ended September.

Equifax needs to do a better job of communicating whether it believes the hackers are still inside its network, said Mark Rasch, a former US federal cyber-crimes prosecutor who advises businesses on responding to breaches. Equifax said the database intrusion continued until July, exposing the bevy of information that Equifax holds.