FBI says it is ‘tracking’ Equifax data breach

FBI says it is ‘tracking’ Equifax data breach
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The FBI said Friday that it is "tracking" the massive data breach disclosed by credit reporting firm Equifax the previous day.

“The FBI is aware of the reporting and tracking the situation as appropriate,” the FBI told The Hill.

NBC News reported that the bureau has been actively investigating the breach.

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Equifax disclosed the breach late Thursday, saying up to 143 million American consumers — close to half the U.S. population — may have had their personal information accessed by hackers.

The information exposed includes Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses. The company said thousands of consumers also had their credit card numbers and credit dispute documents accessed.

Equifax said hackers exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability and had access to the information for more than a month before the company discovered the breach at the end of July. 

The firm said Thursday it notified law enforcement of the breach and “continues to work with authorities.”

The incident has generated intense scrutiny of the credit reporting firm and raised alarm among members of Congress, some of whom have called for hearings on the issue. 

Richard Smith, Equifax's chairman and CEO, apologized in a statement on Thursday, saying that the incident “strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do.”

The company is offering free identity theft protection and credit monitoring to those swept up in the breach.