The Atlanta based credit monitoring company Equifax has been hit by a high-tech heist that exposed the Social Security numbers and other sensitive information about 143 million Americans.
The firm’s core consumer and commercial credit databases were not accessed.
Some UK and Canadian customers were also affected. Equifax said hackers accessed the information between mid-May and the end of July, when the company discovered the breach.
Equifax chief executive Richard Smith said that the company was working with law enforcement agencies to investigate and had hired a cyber-security firm to analyse what happened. The FBI is also believed to be monitoring the situation.
The company said it would work with regulators in the US, UK and Canada on next steps. It is also offering free credit monitoring and identity theft protection for a year.