Former Equifax CEO Blames Catastrophic Hack on Just One Guy

October 4, 2017 - 2 minutes read

The country is still reeling from the Equifax hack that finally went public last month. Or at least half of the country is: the hack, now known as the largest data breach in U.S. history, affected some 143 million people. The company is trying to make amends, establishing some basic identity theft protections for those whose information was captured, but a mess of this magnitude is going to take a while to clean up. And FinTech app developers want to get to the bottom of how this happened — and they want the company to take responsibility for this catastrophic hack.

In the aftermath of the hack, some of Equifax’s higher-ups have walked away with their heads understandably hung in shame, including CEO Richard Smith. But Smith was in the hot seat yesterday, testifying before the Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection subcommittee of the House of Representatives. For FinTech app developers who wanted the satisfaction of seeing a corporation take responsibility, the testimony was a huge letdown: Smith chalked this massive data breach up to human error and pinned the blame on just one guy.

Who was this unnamed guy? According to Smith, it was one of the 225 people on the company’s cybersecurity team. This forgetful team member didn’t patch the well-known vulnerability in the Apache Struts software, leaving the system wide open for hackers. So we can’t get mad at Smith, or really anybody else at the company — well, except for that one guy. New York City FinTech app developers still have plenty of questions about the hack, especially about the big window of time where the company knew about the hack but kept it under wraps. And of course there are those sketchy stock holders who sold $1.8 million in shares back in August, likely with knowledge of the hack (although Smith denies this). We’ll have to wait and see if further testimonies and investigations reveal what everyone suspects: that there is significantly more blame to go around.

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