Equifax Execs Cleared of Wrongdoing After Selling Shares

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An independent investigation has cleared four Equifax executives including the firm’s CFO of insider trading, after they sold shares just before a major data breach was revealed, causing its stock market price to tumble.

The four are: CFO John Gamble, Jr, president of information solutions, Joseph Loughran, III, president of workforce solutions, Rodolfo Ploder and Douglas Brandberg, SVP of investor relations.

They’re each said to have offloaded hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of shares totaling around $1.7m between July 28-August 2.

The breach was discovered on July 29, after the Equifax security team spotted suspicious network traffic that it turned out was linked to an attack exploiting a known vulnerability in the Apache Struts web application framework.

According to an Equifax report on the investigation, the security team were “aware” of the vulnerability — patched by Microsoft in March 2017 — and “took efforts to identify and to patch any vulnerable systems in the company’s IT infrastructure” at the time.

The probe of the four Equifax executives was conducted by an independent “Special Committee” comprising three executives from other firms: former Kimberly-Clark president, Elane Stock, former Reuters CEO, Robert Daleo and Thomas Hough, treasurer of Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.

It claims to have carried out 62 interviews and reviewed 55,000 documents, including emails, texts, phone logs and other records.

In the end, the breach exposed highly sensitive personally identifiable information belonging to 145.5 million Americans and 700,000 British customers.

Following its disclosure on September 7, just over a month after the breach was first detected, the Equifax stock market price dropped from around $142 per share to just $93.

The incident has already cost the jobs of CEO Richard Smith, CIO Dave Webb and CSO Susan Mauldin.

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