City watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority has confirmed it has launched an investigation into Equifax’s farcical handling of the massive data breach which has hit 694,000 UK customers as well as half of the US population.
In a statement, the regulator said: “The FCA announces today that it is investigating the circumstances surrounding a cybersecurity incident that led to the loss of UK customer data held by Equifax Ltd on the servers of its US parent. This statement is made given the public interest in these matters.”
In response, Equifax said it supported the probe but raised a few eyebrows by saying that it welcomed “this opportunity for all businesses to better protect consumers in the future”. The company already offers many services to protect companies against cyber attacks.
The FCA investigation follows calls from Treasury committee chair Nicky Morgan – the former education and equalities minister – for the watchdog to provide information on the firm’s response and any further action it may be considering.
The company’s handling of the breach has been heavily criticised. After initially claiming that “just” 400,000 UK customers had been mildly affected and that financial fraud was “highly unlikely”, Equifax was forced to admit that, in fact, 15.2 million UK records had been exposed and that 694,000 Britons could face financial loss.
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