Equifax said its systems were struck by a cybersecurity incident that may have affected about 143 million U.S. consumers, shedding light on what could be ranked as one of the largest breaches in history.
Intruders accessed names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver’s license numbers, Equifax said in a statement. Credit card numbers for about 209,000 consumers were also accessed, the company said. Equifax shares dropped more than 5% in after-hours trading.
"This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do. I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes," Chief Executive Officer Richard Smith said in the statement.
Criminals took advantage of a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to files during a period stretching from mid-May through July of this year. The intruders accessed credit card information for about 209,000 consumers and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 consumers, Equifax said.
Some U.K. and Canadian residents were also affected. The company is working with regulators in both countries. It uncovered the breach on July 29.