Congress Grills Former CEOs of Yahoo & Equifax About Hacks

Former Yahoo boss Marissa Mayer will be quizzed by US senators

USA lawmakers will grill current and former executives from Equifax and Yahoo at a hearing today focused on security breaches at their companies that have affected billions of internet users. Equifax, a credit-monitoring agency, lost 145 million Americans' social security numbers and personal information, a data breach that will affect more than half the U.S. population for generations.

"These thefts occurred during my tenure, and I want to sincerely apologize to each and every one of our users", Mayer said". Thune also pressed Equifax's former CEO Richard Smith and interim CEO Paulino Barros on Equifax's known security vulnerabilities that led to its recent data breach and how the company is now addressing these issues.

Senator Bill Nelson said "only stiffer enforcement and stringent penalties will help incentivise companies to properly safeguard consumer information".

Senators questioning the CEOs were not optimistic about future security breaches.

"I think really aggressive pursuit of the hacking is important", she said. Mayer says Yahoo, which originally said only 1 billion accounts were affected, didn't find out about the hack until it got data from the government in 2016 and still hasn't figured out how it happened, though she says Russian intelligence officers have launched attacks on Yahoo systems.

Verizon, the largest US wireless operator, acquired most of Yahoo Inc's assets in June, the same month Mayer stepped down.

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Mayer said Yahoo successfully defended itself against a barrage of state-sponsored and private hacks over the years and even employed hackers to test the company's defenses.

He also said the company is on schedule to release a computer app in January that will allow consumers to lock and unlock their credit data.

Yahoo required users to change passwords and took new steps to make data more secure, Mayer said.

Mayer said Yahoo still doesn't know exactly hackers breached all of its users, and isn't sure what flaws it needs to fix. The company's new CEO said he's unsure if its data has been encrypted since the breach. Six months earlier, Yahoo was targeted for the second time in four years in an attack that compromised more than 3 billion email accounts.

And while Barros discussed Equifax's tools for breach victims, he noted that barely any people are using it.

"Under current law, even some of the most egregious examples of lax security can be met only with apologies and promises to do better next time".

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