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Data from Equifax credit hack could "end up on the black market," expert warns

China denies Equifax hack charges
China denies Equifax hack charges 02:41

China is denying charges that four members of the country's military allegedly stole information from about 145 million people in the 2017 Equifax credit monitoring hack. The Department of Justice has accused China of possessing the personal information of almost half the American populace.

The DOJ said there was no evidence the stolen information was being used, though according to electronic privacy expert Alan Butler, that might not be the case for long.

"There's no assurance that the use of this data is going to be limited to the Chinese military, it very well could end up on the black market," he told CBS News' Anna Werner.

Butler noted that Equifax's problems occurred when hackers exploited a known vulnerability in a software program that the company had previously failed to fix.

"Companies are collecting far too much data," he warned. "They're not storing it securely, and we don't have a legal regime in the United States that addresses the types of vast quantities of data that these companies are collecting."

Attorney General William Barr accused China of targeting trade secrets and other confidential information in "a pattern of state-sponsored computer intrusions and thefts."

Barr called the Equifax hack "one of the largest data breaches in history" in a press conference detailing the charges of computer fraud, economic espionage, and wire fraud against the four Chinese military members. 

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