Updated at 8:15 p.m.
On Thursday, Equifax, one of three major credit reporting agencies, revealed that highly sensitive personal and financial information for around 143 million U.S. consumers was compromised in a cybersecurity breach that began in late spring. There are only around 125 million households in the U.S.
According to the company’s statement, the cybersecurity breach started in May of this year and continued until it was discovered on July 29. While criminals did not appear to have accessed what Equifax describes as “core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases,” which help in the generating of credit scores, some pretty important personal information was accessed. According to the company, criminals were able to access the social security numbers, birth dates, and addresses for a massive—but as yet unspecified—number of U.S. consumers. The hack also included credit card numbers for more than 200,000 Americans and documentation related to disputes, which contain personal and identifying information, for some 180,000 Americans. On top of that, financial disclosures show that three top Equifax executives sold $1.8 million worth of company stock in the days after the breach was discovered, according to Bloomberg.
"This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do. I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes," said the company’s CEO Richard F. Smith in a statement. Equifax declined to comment further.