A failed security update by Equifax allowed hackers to access the private files of their customers, with a reported 143 million people affected. The credit-reporting company disclosed the hack two weeks ago, and today Equifax Canada confirmed that approximately 100,000 Canadians were affected.
This personal information may include names, addresses, social insurance numbers and in some cases even credit card numbers, according to a statement from Equifax Canada.
The original threat was detected on July 29 but could have been happening since mid-May. Equifax has contracted an outside cyber security firm to address the issues and figure out exactly who and what had been compromised. The hackers attacked Equifax through a consumer website application intended for use by U.S. customers, then used that oversight to access information from Canadian customers.
Equifax Canada offered an apology and reasons as to why it took close to two weeks days to clarify information for Canadians.
“We apologize to Canadian consumers who have been impacted by this incident,” said Lisa Nelson, president and general manager of Equifax Canada. “We understand it has also been frustrating that Equifax Canada has been unable to provide clarity on who was impacted until the investigation is complete. Our focus now is on providing impacted consumers with the support they need.”
For those affected, Equifax said you should receive mail (not email) from Equifax that outlines steps you can take to make your account secure again. Those affected will also receive 12 months of credit monitoring and identity theft protection for free.
Equifax continues to remind Canadians to be vigilant while reviewing account statements to see if any unauthorized action is happening.