Equifax said three top executives who sold nearly $2 million in company stock before a massive security breach was announced “had no knowledge” of the incident beforehand, according to an emailed statement from the credit-monitoring agency.
“The three executives who sold a small percentage of their Equifax shares on Tuesday, August 1, and Wednesday, August 2, had no knowledge that an intrusion had occurred at the time they sold their shares,” the statement said, hours after Equifax announced that 143 million people in the US were affected by the security breach that took place from mid-May to July 2017.
The executives, which include Equifax CFO John Gamble, president of US information solutions Joseph Loughran, and president of workforce solutions Rodolfo Ploder, sold shares days after Equifax learned of the breach on July 29, Bloomberg’s Anders Melin reported.
Equifax shares fell more than 6% in after-hours trading on Thursday following the announcement.
The company said “criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability,” to access the personal details, including names and social security numbers of 143 million people. Credit card numbers for about 209,000 people, and certain documents for another 182,000 were also accessed.
Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, who is vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the scale of the hacking “represents a real threat to the economic security of Americans,” and suggested Congress should reconsider data-protection policies so large companies like Equifax “have fewer incentives to collect large, centralized sets of highly sensitive data like SSNs and credit card information on millions of Americans.”
You can see if you were affected by the Equifax breach here »
Mohammed Hadi contributed reporting.