143 million peoples’ confidential information has been stolen from Equifax, a major consumer credit reporting agency. This information includes social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, birth dates, addresses, and other personal information. Within seven hours of the public announcement, two separate lawsuits were filed. Both lawsuits accuse Equifax of negligence and willful misconduct.
The company has known about the hack since July 29th, officials say. These lawsuits state that three executives made as much as 1.8 million dollars in stock within days of the discovery. While the trade sizes were unusually larger than those of the stock’s average number of deals of less than 50 contracts a day, it was not entirely clear whether the buyer bought or sold these investments. The company states that these officials were not aware of the hacking at the time of the deals. Within 24 hours of the news of the cyber breach, stock market prices plummeted 17.8%. The company lost 3 billion off of their value due to this drop. Furthermore, Equifax did not disclose any of this information until September 7th. Equifax Inc. supports over 820 million people nation wide and an astounding 91 million businesses.
Congress, along with authorities like the Attorneys General of Illinois and New York, are probing the timing of the events.
Many other, smaller private lawsuits will most likely be combined into what is known as multidistrict litigation. This merged case will be presented before a single judge.
There have been many cities discussed as possible candidates for litigation. Numerous regulations and logical questions have to be met, and the city that fits the description best is Atlanta, Georgia. One of these is that plaintiffs do not have to show that the thieves actually used the stolen data. The fact that it was stolen is enough to hold in court.
Aside from the fact that Equifax Inc. is located in the city, the court also handled the 2014 hacking of millions of Home Depot card users.
There will be an avalanche of consumer cases,” said Yanchunis, who also leads litigation in California against Yahoo over hackings affecting more than 1 billion users, though involving less sensitive data.
Experts are warning Equifax that time is money, and they don’t have much time at all. The slower that the company proceeds, the more likely they’ll regret it.