(Adds detail from letter, background)
By David Shepardson and Dustin Volz
WASHINGTON, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Two key U.S. senators on Monday asked Equifax Inc to answer detailed questions about a breach of information affecting up to 143 million Americans, including whether U.S. government agency records were compromised in the hack.
Senator Orrin Hatch, who chairs the Finance Committee, and ranking Democrat Ron Wyden, also demanded that Equifax chief executive Rick Smith provide a timeline of the breach and its discovery. They asked for information on when authorities and the company’s board were notified and when three executives who sold stock in the company in August were first told of the data breach.
Equifax did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter. It came amid mounting scrutiny of the company’s response to the breach from lawmakers, regulators and security experts, prompting the credit-monitoring services to issue an apology on Friday and pledge to dedicate more resources to helping affected consumers.
Equifax announced last week that it learned on July 29 that hackers had infiltrated its systems in mid-May, pilfering names, birthdays, addresses and Social Security and driver’s license numbers. Cyber security experts said it was among the largest data hacks ever recorded and was particularly troubling due to the richness of the information exposed.
Three days after Equifax discovered the breach, three top Equifax executives, including Chief Financial Officer John Gamble and a president of a unit, sold Equifax shares or exercised options to dispose of stock worth about $1.8 million, regulatory filings show.
Equifax said in a statement last week that the executives were not aware that an intrusion had occurred when they sold their shares.
Hatch and Wyden asked Smith to respond by September 28. Other congressional committees have announced plans to hold hearings investigating the Equifax breach. (Reporting by Dustin Volz and David Shepardson; Editing by Andrew Hay)