If you’re the CEO of a major company, consumer data safety should be one of your top most concerns. This didn’t seem to be the case when Equifax had more than 146 million’s identities stolen due to identify theft. Under former CEO Richard Smith’s leadership, this identity theft occurred, and with him now gone, Paulino do Rego Barros Jr. took over.
Here’s where things make you want to scratch your head and wonder how Equifax is still in business. Paulino do Rego Barros Jr. told Congress on Wednesday that he wasn’t sure if his company was encrypting consumer data. How does the company CEO not know if the company is encrypting data?
The thing is, after the previous massive breach (last July), right when he took things over from Richard Smith, the first thing he should have asked his staff is if consumer data is secure.
The Wall Street Journal reports his reply when asked about protection of consumer data, “I don’t know at this stage.” This would baffle anyone, and it certainly surprised many. In the same Journal article, they quote Gartner analyst, Avivah Litan, saying, “He should have asked his staff that the day he took over.”
We couldn’t agree more with Litan. That’s something he should have first asked the moment he took over. Equifax technically wasn’t entirely hacked, but rather the lackluster security was exploited by hackers. There was a door that was left open to access 146 million people’s data.
Since the breach, the company has been investigated by multiple government agencies. Equifax is also being looked into for stock manipulation and Congress continues its search for reasons how the company let the breach happen and what it’s doing post-breach.