Attacks/Breaches

Senate Report on Equifax Raises Questions Ahead of FICO Product Announcement

Equifax is slammed in a Senate subcommittee report ahead of the announcement of a joint service with FICO.

When your company is named in a Senate subcommittee report headline that also includes the words "neglected" and "devastating" it's rarely a good thing. Equifax finds itself in just that situation this week, though the company is not letting that keep it from announcing a partnership that has some observers concerned about consumer privacy.

The staff report issued by the United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is titled How Equifax Neglected Cybersecurity and Suffered a Devastating Data Breach. And the title isn't even the most blunt statement of the report. In the conclusion of the report, the staff writes that Equifax didn't prioritize security, didn't follow its own policies for patching a critical vulnerability, and left itself open to attack due to poor cybersecurity practices, among other faults.

The report also notes that Equifax could have minimized damage had it put basic controls and policies in place, rather than allowing the personal information of millions of individuals to be compromised.

Within the report there are a couple of findings that seem at odds with one another. First, the report states that Equifax executives are firm in their belief that they did everything possible to avoid the breach — in particular, the CIO who served from 2010 to 2017 said that he doesn't believe Equifax could have done anything differently.

However, fellow credit bureaus TransUnion and Experian each used the same product that was the source of the Equifax vulnerability (Apache Struts) -- and yet they avoided a breach by responding to the vulnerability very quickly and patching it long before the Equifax attack was underway.

This report is a prelude to the announcement that Equifax and FICO are joining forces in a Data Decisions Cloud that will provide deeper, more detailed financial information on consumers to companies that subscribe to the big data product. FICO is traditionally a data analysis firm best known for the credit score that's used for everything from approving loans to setting insurance rates. Equifax reports on consumers with data that includes the FICO score, and the combination of the two is seen by some privacy advocates as the worst of all possible worlds — a company with known security issues developing (and storing the data for) products that involve more personal data than ever before.

In the announcement of the new service, the two companies said that they are, "…focused on a connected, end-to-end development and decisioning management platform that allows customers to quickly explore, develop, test and deploy powerful insights into production systems across the organization." The question may not be whether the service can deliver on this promise to customers, but whether Equifax has taken sufficient action based on its huge breach to avoid being the subject of another Senate security investigation in the future.

Related content:

 

 

 

Join Dark Reading LIVE for two cybersecurity summits at Interop 2019. Learn from the industry's most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the Interop agenda here.

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Russia Hacked Clinton's Computers Five Hours After Trump's Call
Robert Lemos, Technology Journalist/Data Researcher,  4/19/2019
Tips for the Aftermath of a Cyberattack
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/17/2019
Why We Need a 'Cleaner Internet'
Darren Anstee, Chief Technology Officer at Arbor Networks,  4/19/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
5 Emerging Cyber Threats to Watch for in 2019
Online attackers are constantly developing new, innovative ways to break into the enterprise. This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at five emerging attack trends and exploits your security team should look out for, along with helpful recommendations on how you can prevent your organization from falling victim.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-7303
PUBLISHED: 2019-04-23
A vulnerability in the seccomp filters of Canonical snapd before version 2.37.4 allows a strict mode snap to insert characters into a terminal on a 64-bit host. The seccomp rules were generated to match 64-bit ioctl(2) commands on a 64-bit platform; however, the Linux kernel only uses the lower 32 b...
CVE-2019-7304
PUBLISHED: 2019-04-23
Canonical snapd before version 2.37.1 incorrectly performed socket owner validation, allowing an attacker to run arbitrary commands as root. This issue affects: Canonical snapd versions prior to 2.37.1.
CVE-2019-0223
PUBLISHED: 2019-04-23
While investigating bug PROTON-2014, we discovered that under some circumstances Apache Qpid Proton versions 0.9 to 0.27.0 (C library and its language bindings) can connect to a peer anonymously using TLS *even when configured to verify the peer certificate* while used with OpenSSL versions before 1...
CVE-2017-12619
PUBLISHED: 2019-04-23
Apache Zeppelin prior to 0.7.3 was vulnerable to session fixation which allowed an attacker to hijack a valid user session. Issue was reported by "stone lone".
CVE-2018-1317
PUBLISHED: 2019-04-23
In Apache Zeppelin prior to 0.8.0 the cron scheduler was enabled by default and could allow users to run paragraphs as other users without authentication.