Shares of Equifax Inc tumbled 12 per cent on Friday after the provider of consumer credit scores revealed that personal details of as many as 143 million U.S. consumers were likely accessed in one of the largest data breaches in the United States.
Atlanta-based Equifax said on Thursday that it discovered the breach on July 29. It said criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files that included names, Social Security numbers and drivers’ license numbers.
Consumers’ accounts were accessed by hackers between mid-May and July. Equifax had also said that information of some UK and Canadian residents was also obtained in the hack.
Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said the Equifax data breach “gives us cause for concern.”
“We will be advising Equifax to alert affected UK customers at the earliest opportunity,” ICO Deputy Commissioner James Dipple-Johnstone said in a statement on Friday.
Equifax’s shares were down 12.4 per cent at $125.00 in premarket trading and were on course to open at a seven-month low.