Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the indictment of four individuals who are members of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the armed forces of the People’s Republic of China, in connection with the theft of consumer data in 2017. As the indictment states, the cyberattack against Equifax was a state-sponsored operation by a well-funded and sophisticated military arm of the Chinese government.
CEO Mark W. Begor issued the following statement:
“We are grateful to the Justice Department and the FBI for their tireless efforts in determining that the military arm of China was responsible for the cyberattack on Equifax in 2017. It is reassuring that our federal law enforcement agencies treat cybercrime – especially state-sponsored crime – with the seriousness it deserves and that the Justice Department is committed to pursuing those who target U.S. consumers, businesses and our government. The attack on Equifax was an attack on U.S. consumers as well as the United States.
Cybercrime is one of the greatest threats facing our nation today, and it is an ongoing battle that every company will continue to face as attackers grow more sophisticated. Combating this challenge from well-financed nation-state actors that operate outside the rule of law is increasingly difficult. Fighting this cyberwar will require the type of open cooperation and partnership between government, law enforcement and private business that we have experienced firsthand.
During the past two years, Equifax has made significant progress and investments to protect the data entrusted to us, and we are committed to being an industry leader in data security. We are spending an incremental $1.25 billion between 2018 and 2020 on enhanced security and technology as part of our EFX 2020 cloud technology transformation, and we have made tremendous progress toward embedding security into everything we do. Our industry-leading cloud technology transformation will make us more secure and enable us to innovate and develop solutions with our differentiated data assets to better serve our customers and consumers. Today’s announcement is another positive step forward in helping us turn the page on the cybersecurity attack as we continue our focus on being a leader in data security.
These cyber-attacks on U.S. companies continue to escalate and are increasingly challenging to defend when well-financed state actors are involved. We recognize that cybersecurity issues impact our entire industry, and we will continue to work openly with our peers, customers, and partners, to tackle emerging security challenges, document best practices, provide vital data security thought leadership, and work together to deliver solutions that benefit both the security community and consumers. Working together is the only path to defend against these attacks.
We greatly appreciate the work of every FBI investigator and Justice Department prosecutor who participated in this investigation.”