A few thoughts now one of the hardest hit stocks today. Equifax (NYSE: EFX) lost more than 13% of its value because it gave up the confidential data of 143 million americans in one of the largest data breaches in history.
Names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, credit card numbers, driver's license numbers were all exposed in the breach, which was discovered on July 29. But, it took Equifax some six weeks to disclose their extraordinary security breakdown and the attack on millions and millions of their customers and consumers.
The ceo of Equifax apologized -- not nearly as profoundly or as contritely as he should have -- and worse, there's no explanation as to how the cyber attack was carried out or by who.
And now we learn three executives, including the CFO, sold shares of the company just days after the breach was first discovered, earning nearly two million dollars. Equifax claims the executives were unaware of the breach when they sold the stock, but the company should do the right thing and reverse it so there is no question of integrity, while there are so many questions about the company's lack of security and failure to protect the private information of 143 million americans.
But the bad news for consumers doesn't end there. Americans who sign up for Equifax's credit monitoring following the breach could be giving up rights to sue the company. That's outrageous.
New York's attorney general, who I almost never agree with, as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau were calling on Equifax to remove the arbitration clause. Conveniently, the CFPBâ€™s rule banning arbitration clauses doesn't go into effect until later this month, and even then, it only impacts agreements entered starting next year.
I believe Equifax is acting with ignorance and impunity against the people they have an obligation to protect. I also can't believe the Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable aren't calling into account the actions of Equifax and insisting on a higher level of integrity from all businesses entrusted to hold Americans' personal information secure.
Both regulators and Equifax customers should hold the company responsible for its utter failure to protect its customers.