Senior Equifax executive charged with insider trading

Enlarge / A monitor displays Equifax Inc. signage on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York on Friday, September 15, 2017. (credit: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Federal authorities have charged a senior Equifax executive with insider trading for allegedly selling almost $1 million worth of company stock 10 days before officials disclosed a website hack that exposed sensitive information for more than 143 million US consumers.

Jun Ying was CIO of Equifax's United States Information Systems business unit in the months leading up to Equifax's bombshell announcement on September 7 that the breach exposed Social Security numbers, birth dates, and other sensitive data for as many as 143 million people. According to a complaint filed Wednesday by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Ying's first indication his employer had been breached came on August 25 when he and colleagues received an email alerting them to a "very large breach opportunity" that would require additional capacity from IT systems to process. To keep the Equifax breach confidential, the email and subsequent discussions didn't name Equifax as the victim and instead suggested it involved an Equifax client.

Putting 2 and 2 together

Ying only needed a few hours, however, to suspect his employer was the one that had been breached, prosecutors said. At 5:27 that afternoon, after speaking privately with the CIO of the main Equifax company, Ying allegedly sent a text message to one of his employees that read: "On the phone with [global CIO]. Sounds bad. We may be the one breached... Starting to put 2 and 2 together."

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