Former Equifax CEO testifies in front of Congress

10 months 2 weeks 4 hours ago Tuesday, October 03 2017 Oct 3, 2017 Tuesday, October 03, 2017 4:16:00 PM CDT October 03, 2017 in News
By: Seth Fiegerman and Donna Borak, CNN

(CNN Money) -- Equifax just got grilled by Congress for the first time over its breach. Or at least one of its former executives did.

Richard Smith, the former CEO of Equifax, testified Tuesday morning before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about the credit reporting firm's massive security breach.

Smith apologized numerous times throughout the hearing for the breach and said it was the result of "human error and technological error."

"The criminal hack happened on my watch... I take full responsibility," he said in opening remarks. "I'm here today to say to each and every person affected by this breach I'm truly and deeply sorry for what happened."

Congress members were unsatisfied with Smith's apologies. "You're just required to notify everybody and say, 'So sorry, so sad,'" Rep. Joe Barton told Smith.

Barton said it's time "some teeth" be imposed on the federal level, possibly by requiring credit agencies to pay consumers when their accounts are hacked.

On Monday, Equifax said its breach potentially affected 2.5 million more people than it had previously stated. The total number of people involved may now be as much as 145.5 million.

Related: How the Equifax data breach happened: What we know now

Federal agencies, state officials and members of Congress are currently probing Equifax over its data security practices, customer service response and the possibility of insider trading from executives.

The breach compromised some of our most sensitive personal information, including Social Security numbers, addresses, and driver's license numbers.

Smith was pressed early in the hearing about executive stock sales that took place before the hack was disclosed to the public. He said the three executives who sold stock were not aware of the breach.

"I don't know exactly the date they were informed, but to the best of my knowledge they had no knowledge at the time," he said.

In another exchange, Smith said he had "no indication of a breach" prior to the date of the stock sales, only of "suspicious activity."

Smith faced questions from legislators about Equifax's botched response to the breach, the months-long delay in announcing it and whether consumers will be compensated for damage caused by identity theft.

Rep. Greg Walden, the Republican chairman of the House subcommittee, pledged Tuesday to hold Equifax and Smith accountable. But he said, "I don't think I can pass a law that, excuse me for saying, fixes stupid."

"How could a major U.S. company like Equifax, which holds the most sensitive personal data on Americans, so let them down?" Walden said in opening remarks at the hearing. "It's like the guards at Fort Knox forgot to lock the doors and failed to notice thieves emptying the vaults."

Smith said he would expect Equifax to "cooperate" with "particular legislation that arises out of this horrific breach."

The former CEO's appearance Tuesday marks the first in a series of Equifax hearings in Washington. On Wednesday, Smith will testify twice -- before the Senate Banking Committee and a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on privacy. And on Thursday he will appear before the House Financial Services committee.

Smith stepped down as CEO three weeks after the breach was announced to the public.

After three hours of grilling, Democrats said today's hearing was not sufficient, pressing for additional hearings with the current Equifax executives, including the CIO and chief legal officer.

"I don't think this is resolved," said Rep. Anna Eshoo.

More News

Grid
List
MOBERLY - A severe thunderstorm brought half-dollar sized hail and hundreds of power outages to Randolph County Thursday evening. ... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 16 2018 Aug 16, 2018 Thursday, August 16, 2018 10:05:00 PM CDT August 16, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Three Indiana men involved in the armed robbery of a Walgreens pharmacy were indicted Thursday by a... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 16 2018 Aug 16, 2018 Thursday, August 16, 2018 9:32:00 PM CDT August 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Public Transit Advisory Commission (PTAC) is pushing back over proposed budget cuts to the city's public transit... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 16 2018 Aug 16, 2018 Thursday, August 16, 2018 7:46:00 PM CDT August 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A Missouri candidate who recently claimed a surprise victory in the Republican primary for state auditor is now... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 16 2018 Aug 16, 2018 Thursday, August 16, 2018 7:21:00 PM CDT August 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Audrain County Sheriff's Office says the widely-circulated story of a dog found with taped legs... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 16 2018 Aug 16, 2018 Thursday, August 16, 2018 5:21:00 PM CDT August 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Prosecutors charged a Columbia man with murder Thursday, two months after deputies found a woman dead in a... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 16 2018 Aug 16, 2018 Thursday, August 16, 2018 4:16:00 PM CDT August 16, 2018 in News
TUSCUMBIA - A convicted murderer charged with the killing of an Eldon girl in 1984 got a change of venue... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 16 2018 Aug 16, 2018 Thursday, August 16, 2018 3:57:13 PM CDT August 16, 2018 in News
SEDALIA - Gov. Mike Parson, lawmakers and agriculture experts talked to Missouri farmers at the State Fair Thursdsay, to assure... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 16 2018 Aug 16, 2018 Thursday, August 16, 2018 2:54:00 PM CDT August 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Police are searching for the man pictured above, saying he is a suspect in a Thursday morning... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 16 2018 Aug 16, 2018 Thursday, August 16, 2018 2:50:00 PM CDT August 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - An invasive beetle has spread to 11 new counties in Missouri. The emerald ash borer kills more than... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 16 2018 Aug 16, 2018 Thursday, August 16, 2018 2:27:00 PM CDT August 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri announcement a financial windfall Thursday that will help feed hundreds... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 16 2018 Aug 16, 2018 Thursday, August 16, 2018 2:20:00 PM CDT August 16, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri candidate who recently claimed a surprise victory in the Republican primary for state... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 16 2018 Aug 16, 2018 Thursday, August 16, 2018 2:05:00 PM CDT August 16, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley filed a lawsuit Thursday against a St. Louis housing complex where reported... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 16 2018 Aug 16, 2018 Thursday, August 16, 2018 10:57:00 AM CDT August 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - St.Louis-based SSM Health confirmed Thursday it is exploring a transfer of its Jefferson City and Mexico hospitals to... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 16 2018 Aug 16, 2018 Thursday, August 16, 2018 10:28:00 AM CDT August 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia Regional Airport managers held the first All Things Airport monthly meeting on Thursday. The meeting was... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 16 2018 Aug 16, 2018 Thursday, August 16, 2018 9:48:00 AM CDT August 16, 2018 in Top Stories
(CNN) - Aretha Franklin, whose gospel-rooted singing and bluesy yet expansive delivery earned her the title "the Queen of Soul,"... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 16 2018 Aug 16, 2018 Thursday, August 16, 2018 9:46:00 AM CDT August 16, 2018 in News
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Thursday morning's latest drought update from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) shows the expansion of drought... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 16 2018 Aug 16, 2018 Thursday, August 16, 2018 9:15:00 AM CDT August 16, 2018 in News
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Missouri woman who's charged with killing her 5-year-old daughter and critically injuring her 1-year-old son... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 16 2018 Aug 16, 2018 Thursday, August 16, 2018 8:38:00 AM CDT August 16, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 68°
6am 67°
7am 67°
8am 71°
9am 76°