Equifax data breach may affect nearly half the US population

From CNET: Hackers stole a treasure trove of financial data from a top credit-reporting company, potentially exposing the personal information of roughly half the US population.

Equifax said Thursday that thieves stole customer names, Social Security numbers, birthdates and addresses in a hack that stretched from mid-May and July. The data taken affected as many as 143 million people.

The number of affected people is roughly half of the US population of 323 million. The number reported by Equifax doesn't include victims from around the world.

"This is clearly a disappointing event and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do," Equifax CEO Rick Smith said in a video released Thursday. In a separate statement, Equifax said it is working with law enforcement on an investigation.

The breach, which was particularly potent because one company held such a large amount of sensitive information, is among the largest in US history and the biggest known leak of 2017. Yahoo lost data on roughly a record 1 billion accounts in 2013, the web portal said last year.

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