Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Richard Smith, former chairman and chief executive officer of Equifax Inc., waits to begin a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017.
A combination of human and technological error resulted in a massive breach of data at the credit reporting company Equifax, and the former CEO told Congress on Tuesday he takes “full responsibility.’
Former Equifax CEO Richard Smith testified on Tuesday about the data breach during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. It is his first of four Capitol Hill stops this week as lawmakers investigate what happened and how it might have been prevented.
“The criminal hack happened on my watch,” Smith said. “I am truly and deeply sorry for what happened.”
Smith abruptly retired last week, taking no severance or bonus for this year, but he remains eligible for $18.4 million in pension benefits.
Equifax announced the breach in September, and said Monday that it affected the personal information of 145.5 million people, which is 2.5 million more than originally estimated.
In his prepared remarks, Smith admitted the company didn’t act quickly to fix a software glitch that had been widely known since the government warned companies about it in March. That problem would not be fixed until July, when Equifax first became aware of suspicious activity on its system.