The massive Equifax data breach that affected at least 143 million Americans has brought cybersecurity to the forefront of the conversation as the hunt to find out who’s ultimately to blame pervades.
“Some commentators mentioned that this will be with us for life,” Symantec CEO Greg Clark told FOX Business’ Liz Claman on ‘Countdown to the Closing Bell.’ “It really is an example of needing to protect yourself in cyberspace on many fronts, and identity protection is one of those. And this is a prime example of it.
Several class-actions suits have already been filed against the company, which reportedly learned of the data breach in mid-July, but did not publicly disclose it until September. Three executives were also criticized for selling stock worth more than $1 million just days after the hack occurred, though the company denied that they any knowledge of it.
More than 143 million people were affected by the breach, in which hackers potentially accessed personal information including customers’ names, Social Security and driver’s license numbers, birthdays and addresses.
With that information, hackers can buy guns, rent cars, create fake driver’s licenses, and change the registered address of property in other people's names, said Clark, who heads Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC), a company that specializes in cybersecurity and cyber defense.
“It’s a profound and large problem,” he said, “and identity monitoring and identity protection is really important going forward.”
Since the disclosure, questions have emerged about who’s responsible for the breach, which may affect at least half of the U.S. Security researchers said the company had a security patch to fix the vulnerability two months before the attack, but chose to not install it.
Though the company needs to answer some questions, the patch may not have been a quick, total remedy fix, Clark said.
“I think here that it’s not just something you and go and put on the server and it’s fixed,” he said. “You have to do a fair bit of work to get it there.”
On Friday evening, the company announced the retirement, effective immediately, of its chief information officer and chief security officer. Equifax’s (NYSE: EFX) stock has plummeted 36% since Sept. 7, the day it released information about the breach.