Pre-Data Breach, Equifax Suspected China Of Spying

Before it was the victim of a massive data breach that exposed the personal information of 143 million customers, Equifax was worried that sensitive data had been stolen by Chinese spies.

Citing a source familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reported that former employees were suspected of taking thousands of pages of proprietary information — including code for planned new products, human-resources files and manuals — before leaving for jobs in China. The company grew even more suspicious after the Chinese government asked eight companies to help it build a national credit-reporting system.

Equifax went to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency, and the company even began looking into a way to monitor the computer activity of its Chinese employees. That project, however, was abandoned due to legal concerns.

While the FBI wanted to pursue a criminal case, Equifax pulled back due to worries about legal exposure and how difficult the investigation could become.

In a written statement, Equifax said it became aware in 2015 of “efforts by a former employee to obtain company information, and launched an internal investigation into his activities.” It “brought the investigation to the attention of U.S. law enforcement authorities and cooperated with the federal agencies.”

Source: Pymnts

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