We have written recently about the Equifax data breach where the records of 143 million Americans were accessed from the secure database of credit reporting agency Equifax Inc (Equifax). Equifax recently lodged its third quarter results with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and in their official announcement they indicated that the costs incurred in that third quarter for the cybersecurity incident were US$87.5 million. Click here for our previous article.

That amount was broken down into product cost ($55.5 million), professional fees ($17.1 million) and consumer support ($14.9 million). Clearly indirect costs were not covered in this calculation. They have also recorded a contingent liability for additional expenses which they have estimated between $56 and $110 million dollars.

While the US has a much larger population than Australia and the Equifax breach covered approximately 50 per cent of the population, even if a breach were one-tenth the size, the immediate costs and the projected future costs indicate that in addition to regulatory action and fines, and potential loss of business, a data breach can be a very expensive problem to remedy.