Equifax apologizes again after massive data breach

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The Atlanta-based company said it recorded $87.5 million in expenses related to the hack during the quarter, including legal fees, investigation of the breach, and free credit monitoring for US consumers whose data was exposed in the breach.

Chief Executive Officer Paulino do Rego Barros, who took over in September when Richard Smith was felled by the scandal, has said that security spending surged fourfold since the hack was discovered.

The credit agency traced the data breach to a software flaw that was detected in March.

The breach will likely cut revenue by 3 percent to 4 percent in the fourth quarter, according to Reuters, and executives won't be receiving bonuses for 2017 "because of the cybersecurity incident", Mr. Barros said. Total operating expenses rose 15 percent from a year earlier to $681.9 million.

Equifax spent nearly $15 million on customer support after disclosing the breach in early September through month end, with the company estimating its total cost to provide free credit monitoring and identity theft protection will cost it as much as $110 million more. The breach attracted scrutiny from lawmakers in Washington and criticism from consumers and banks, igniting a debate about the role credit bureaus play in lending.

"Certain of our customers have determined to defer new contracts or projects unless and until we can provide assurances regarding our ability to prevent unauthorized access to our systems and the data we maintain", Equifax said.

Analysts on Friday's call probed Equifax for further details on its recovery effort. Even so, the company's earnings topped Wall Street's forecasts.

Equifax's net income of $96.3 million was down 27% from $132.8 million a year ago and more than 71% from $165.4 million in the second quarter. The average estimate of 14 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for adjusted profit of $1.49 a share.

Atlanta-based Equifax reported a 3 percent drop in its us revenue in the third quarter to $308 million, but was able to make up the difference and then some from its global services, resulting in an overall 4 percent increase in revenue to $835 million.

"I and the entire Equifax organization apologize to the individuals whose personal information was stolen, as well as to our customers, partners, investors, managers and other constituents", Barros said.

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