CREDIT RATING AGENCY Equifax has agreed to cough up $700m (£561m) in in a settlement with US regulators over its 2017 mega-breach.
The breach affected a whopping 147 million customers globally, including 15 million Brits, saw hackers make off with details including social security numbers, names, dates of birth, addresses, credit card numbers and driver's licence numbers after exploiting an "entirely preventable" flaw in Equifax's systems.
After settling with the ICO to the tune of 500,000, the company on Monday agreed a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) after it was found to have failed to "implement basic security measures" nor "robust intrusion detection protections for its legacy databases."
At least $300m of the $700m mega-fine will go towards paying for identity theft services and other related expenses run up by those caught up in the data breach, a figure which could rise to $425m if required.
Those affected will also be eligible for 10 years of free credit monitoring from, er, Equifax, and the company agreed to make it easier for consumers to freeze their credit or dispute inaccurate information in credit reports.
The rest of the money will be divided between 50 US states and territories and a penalty paid to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
"Equifax failed to take basic steps that may have prevented the breach," said the FTC's chairman Joe Simons.
"This settlement requires that the company take steps to improve its data security going forward, and will ensure that consumers harmed by this breach can receive help protecting themselves from identity theft and fraud."
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Kathleen L. Kraninger added: "For consumers impacted by the Equifax breach, today's settlement will make available up to $425 million for time and money they spent to protect themselves from potential threats of identity theft or addressing incidents of identity theft as a result of the breach.
"We encourage consumers impacted by the breach to submit their claims in order to receive free credit monitoring or cash reimbursements." µ
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