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Equifax Confirms 400,000 UK Consumers Affected By Huge US Data Breach

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Equifax says UK systems not breached but due to process error, Brits’ data was stored on hacked US servers

Credit monitoring firm Equifax has confirmed that 400,000 UK consumers are affected by the massive data breach it suffered earlier this year. 

It emerged last week that 143 million Americans – half the population – were affected by the hack and that some Brits were also impacted. 

That number had remained a mystery until a statement from Equifax’s UK subsidiary was released late on Friday afternoon. 

Read More: What can businesses learn from Equifax data breach?

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Equifax UK breach 

Equifax said its UK systems were separate to those in the US and therefore weren’t hacked, but due to a “process error”, some data on British consumers was stored in America. Equifax has attributed the beach to a web server vulnerability, 

“Regrettably the investigation shows that a file containing UK consumer information may potentially have been accessed,” it said. “This was due to a process failure, corrected in 2016, which led to a limited amount of UK data being stored in the US between 2011 and 2016.  

“The information was restricted to: Name, date of birth, email address and a telephone number and Equifax can confirm that the data does not include any residential address information, password information or financial data.  

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“Having concluded the initial assessment Equifax has established that it is likely to need to contact fewer than 400,000 UK consumers in order to offer them appropriate advice and a range of services to help safeguard and reassure them.” 

Equifax said it was unlikely that the breach would lead to identify theft, but it would be offering support and identity protection services to any UK resident affected. The company said it is working with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). 

“We apologise for this failure to protect UK consumer data,” said Patricio Remon, President of Equifax Ltd. “Our immediate focus is to support those affected by this incident and to ensure we make all of the necessary improvements and investments to strengthen our security and processes going forward.” 

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