The picture painted by Equifax officials wasn't much better: Smith said his company chose not to encrypt its database of Social Security numbers, driver's license information and more, because they assumed their systems were secure enough to protect the data.
"As CEO, these thefts occurred during my tenure, and I want to sincerely apologise to each and every one of our users", she told the Senate Commerce Committee, testifying alongside the interim and former CEOs of Equifax Inc and a senior Verizon Communications Inc executive. A Mayer spokesperson said Tuesday she was appearing voluntarily.
'As we all have witnessed: no company, individual or even government agency is immune from these threats, ' Mayer said.
Mayer is part of a long line of company executives and former executives who have made their way to Capitol Hill in recent years to explain how their company fell victim to a cyberattack. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., asked all of those testifying, including the interim and former CEOs of Equifax, Paulino de Rego Barros Jr. and Richard Smith, as well as Entrust Datacard CEO Todd Wilkinson, if they took issue with Nelson's contention that a "mere company" can not withstand persistent attacks from state-backed hackers without the help of the National Security Agency.
Barros mentioned that Equifax is working on an application that would let customers lock and unlock personal credit data.
He said a federal law should replace that patchwork of laws.
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Thune told reporters after the hearing the Equifax data breach had created "additional momentum" for Congress to approve legislation.
Yahoo had bumped its estimate of affected accounts from a previous 1B to all of them (3B in total).
Senator Bill Nelson said "only stiffer enforcement and stringent penalties will help incentivise companies to properly safeguard consumer information".
Some of the most pointed questioning came from Thune when he asked Mayer how the company for so long failed to recognize that data for all 3 billion of its user accounts were compromised.
"We now know that Russian intelligence officers and state-sponsored hackers were responsible for highly complex and sophisticated attacks on Yahoo's systems", Mayer said.