On September 7, Equifax announced that it had discovered a months-long cybersecurity breach that potentially impacted 143 million people in the United States. (Does it affect you? Here’s how to check.)
Four days later, its stock is still reeling from the news.
Equifax shares were trading at almost $143 ahead of the announcement. At midday Monday, September 11, its shares were down more than 18% from that price, to slightly more than $116 each.
Wall Street traders predict that the EFX beating will continue. As of this morning, the options contracts with the largest outstanding bets on Equifax stock profit from a decline of 15% to 19% over the next five weeks. In other words, two major bets suggest that Equifax shares will sell for as little as $100 by late October.
There’s good reason. The cybersecurity incident in question involves the names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers of millions of people. Credit card numbers for 209,000 people were also accessed. Equifax is one of the three largest American credit agencies alongside Experian and TransUnion. (For more, here’s a look at how businesses are fighting an explosion in cybercrime.)
What’s more, three senior executives at Equifax—including its chief financial officer—were reported to have sold almost $2 million worth of company shares in the wake of the incident. (The company issued a statement saying the executives had no knowledge of the intrusion.) The website that Equifax created to help customers learn if their information had been accessed was, by most estimates, frustrating to use. And lawmakers have only begun inquiries into the incident.