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The Category 5 Equifax Hurricane

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What Is Known So Far About the Equifax Data Breach

What a hot mess. And I don’t mean Irma’s destructive impact, which we will all be following closely this morning. Equifax Inc., one of America’s three major credit bureaus, revealed last week that its website had been breached and that the names, Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses and driver’s license numbers of 143 million Americans may have been comprised. That’s more than half the U.S. population—including your faithful Monday newsletter correspondent. Maybe? “Based on the information provided, we believe that your personal information may have been impacted by this incident,” the Equifax incident response website informed me when I entered in my name and the last six digits of my Social Security number.

Outrage over the incident, and ensuing confusion, is building quickly. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wants to know when the company learned about the breach and how exactly it happened. The Securities and Exchange Commission will almost certainly look into why three Equifax executives sold stock before the company made its announcement, precipitating a sharp drop in share price. (The company says the guys didn’t know.) The first of an inevitable avalanche of class-action lawsuits has been filed.