Equifax Malware Reports Cause Firm to Remove ‘Hacked’ Page as Lawmaker Proposes Crackdown
Equifax has temporarily taken down the web page that had allegedly been hacked in order to con visitors into downloading malware.
Reports of Equifax malware were first made by an independent security researcher and provided a fresh embarrassment for the credit bureau as it tries to mop up the mess left behind by its catastrophic breach earlier this year — a hack that Equifax could have prevented.
Visitors to the affected page are now met with a message saying it has been taken down for “maintenance.” A spokesperson told Fortune reporter Chris Morris yesterday that Equifax’s IT and security teams are “looking into this matter and, out of an abundance of caution, have temporarily taken this page offline.”
Meanwhile, U.S. legislators are trying to make sure that a breach such as that at Equifax — in which hackers stole information about 140 million Americans and over 15 million people in the U.K. — does not happen again.
Congressman Patrick McHenry, the vice-chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, introduced a new bill on Thursday called the Promoting Responsible Oversight of Transactions and Examinations of Credit Technology (PROTECT) Act.
The PROTECT Act, if passed, would lead to federally mandated cybersecurity standards for credit bureaus, along with inspections to ensure compliance. It would also stop credit bureaus from using Americans’ social security numbers as a means of identification, and “create a national framework for credit freezes so that victims of identity theft, active military personnel, people over 65 years of age, and children are protected.”
This isn’t the first bill to be introduced in the wake of the enormous Equifax breach. The Democrats have also been vocal in criticizing the credit reporting bureau and introduced their own legislation.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, and Sen. Brian Schatz, of Hawaii, introduced the Freedom from Equifax Exploitation (FREE) Act last month, which aims to “give control over credit and personal information back to consumers.”
“The Equifax data breach has harmed my constituents in western North Carolina and Americans across the country. It exposed a major shortcoming in our nation’s cybersecurity laws and Congress must act,” McHenry, sponsor of the PROTECT Act, said. “It prevents future harm to all Americans by requiring the largest credit reporting agencies to be subjected to the same standards and supervision as the rest of the financial industry.”