Equifax to pay up to $700m to settle data breach

Equifax to pay up to $650 million in data breach settlement

"This comprehensive settlement is a positive step for USA consumers and Equifax as we move forward from the 2017 cybersecurity incident and focus on our transformation investments in technology and security as a leading data, analytics, and technology company", said Equifax CEO Mark W. Begor.

The credit rating giant will pay $300 million into a fund that will provide affected consumers with credit monitoring services and reimburse them if they paid for third-party credit monitoring, as well as other out-of-pocket expenses associated with the 2017 breach.

The restitution fund will be managed in connection with settlements from class-action lawsuits filed against Equifax, as well as settlements reached with the Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

As part of the settlement, Equifax will provide a consumer restitution fund of up to $425 million.

The company has also agreed to pay $175 million to 48 states as well as the district of Columbia and Puerto Rico, the FTC tweeted. Equifax has agreed to offer up to 10 years of free credit monitoring (18 if you were a minor in May 2017), with four years of that including all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) as well as $1 million of identity theft insurnace.

In a news release, Marshall said Equifax "failed utterly".

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Equifax CEO Mark Begor said several times on a conference call Monday that data connected with the breach has never been found for sale on the darknet.

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Maryland state attorney general Brian Frosh said the breach was troublesome because most consumers did not know their data was being collected or consent to it.

The Equifax hack has left over 143 million Americans vulnerable to identity theft. Consumers must submit a claim in order to receive free credit monitoring or cash reimbursements. The payment breaks down to cover time spent dealing with the breach ($25 per hour), costs incurred for credit monitoring between September 7, 2016 and Sept 7.

Consumers who decide not to enroll in the free credit monitoring available through the settlement may seek up to $125 as a reimbursement for the cost of a credit-monitoring product of their choice.

"This comprehensive settlement is a positive step for USA consumers and Equifax as we move forward", Begor said.

Equifax generated $3.4 billion in revenue in 2017 and $3.81 billion in revenue in 2018, according to its financial filings.

Consumers can receive up to $20,000 to cover any financial costs incurred as a result of the stolen information.

In addition to the monetary payout, the FTC said Equifax is required to implement a comprehensive information security program with a designated leader.

The deal also requires more changes to how Equifax handles private user data.

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