Equifax said the breach potentially affects 143 million US customers - with information like names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses possibly compromised. "This company fell asleep at the switch and upended the lives of millions of people".
Equifax's board clearly needed to dump Smith, not only as a public show of penance for the breach but also for the company's bungling since informing consumers their identities are in danger of being stolen, said Bart Friedman, a lawyer specializing in corporate governance issues for Cahill Gordon and Reindel. Adding insult to injury, Equifax then directed customers to a fake security site.
Compensation consultant Brian Foley says that Equifax's supplemental plan does not have what he calls a "bad boy" clause that would prompt forfeiture or modification in the case of bad behavior, though he says he has seen it before.
Now a growing number of bipartisan inquiries from Capitol Hill are demanding to know why these breaches of personally identifiable information (PII) came about, what actions Equifax took, and what the global firm intends to do on behalf of consumers whose names, birth dates, addresses, Social Security numbers and drivers' licenses are all in jeopardy.
"It simply is unacceptable for a company that profits from consumers' private information to fail to have adequate protections", she said.
"Speaking for everyone on the Board, I sincerely apologize".
CHANG: There's a bill named after Equifax now. Signed by 24 Members of Congress who serve on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, they represent 15 states. This is sensitive information, the FTC warns, so make sure any computer used to access the website is secure and the network connection is encrypted. Some credit monitoring companies will also notify you if suspicious activity occurs on your credit card or your bank account.
The jobs of other Equifax executives could still be in jeopardy. If the characterization of his departure does not change from "retirement", Smith would continue vesting in certain outstanding stock awards, which were worth $20.8 million as of Tuesday's closing stock price, according to an estimate from Equilar, the executive pay and governance research firm. But as you'd imagine, there've been calls for the SEC to investigate that.
Messages seeking comment from the companies were not immediately returned Thursday.
But consumer advocates are questioning the company's decision to offer a lifelong credit lock instead of a state-regulated credit freeze, and are concerned over the unknowns - including if enrolling could limit your rights to sue. If you answered "yes" to more than two or three of the above questions, you should probably have resigned already. If you put a credit freeze on your account, it prevents anyone from accessing your credit report without permission.
As one can see from the accompanying infographic, 54.16 percent of Americans do in fact believe that Equifax should lose its ability to act as a credit bureau in the US following the cyber-security breach.