Equifax data breach exposed more personal information than earlier believed

The Equifax data breach has exposed more of consumers' personal information than what was first disclosed by the company last year, as per  documents given to lawmakers.

In September, the credit-reporting company announced that the personal information of 145.5 million consumers had been compromised in a data breach and originally said that the information accessed included names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in certain cases, the driver's license numbers and credit card numbers.

It further added that the personal information from thousands of dispute documents was accessed.

However, Atalanta-based Equifax disclosed in a document submitted recently to the Senate Banking Committee, accesed by Associated Press, that a forensic investigation found criminals accessed other information from company records. This included tax identification numbers, email addresses and phone numbers. Also included in the list were expiration dates for credit cards or issuing states for driver's licenses.

The Wall Street Journal was the first to report the additional insight into the massive breach.

Equifax's disclosure, which it did not make directly to consumers, underscores the granular detail the company keeps on individuals that it might have put at risk, according to commentators. It also adds to the series of missteps by the company in recovering from the security debacle.

The Equifax hack last summer had hit over 145 million US citizens. According to commentators, the disclosure of additional personal information having been accessed does not necessarily put consumers at greater risk than before.

''This is negative news and it doesn't look good for Equifax,'' said Al Pascual, senior vice president and research director at Javelin Strategy & Research, www.consumerreports.org reported. ''But considering the scale of the breach, this additional information doesn't move the needle. If the additional data is encompassed within the 145 million people originally impacted, then it's not something to be concerned about.''