FTSE 100 credit checking firm Experian got a boost from the massive Equifax hack

 
Lynsey Barber
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Consumers signed up to Experian in the wake of the Equifax hack (Source: Getty)

A massive data breach at US credit checking agency Equifax may have toppled its boss and left millions of customers' data exposed, but it was good for others - namely, a rival.

Experian, the UK-listed agency, said it had a "spike in enrolments in the immediate aftermath" of the hack.

"Normalising for this event, take-up rates have been strong and, over the balance of the year, we will introduce new features to build on and sustain this momentum," the company added.

Read more: The FCA has launched a probe into the massive Equifax hack

Operating profit was up six per cent to $518m (£393m) in the first half of the year and revenue grew five per cent to $2.2bn in the six months to the end of September.

However, the troubles of a rival were a double-edged sword: it also warned the hack has "increased legislative and regulatory activity, and may result in increased oversight of security matters".

"The notoriety of the breach has also increased in the near term the external risks associated with information security," it added.

Lawmakers in the US have scrutinised the firm in the wake of the attack which exposed 145.5m people's details. 15.2m records of 700,000 uk consumers were also exposed spurring an investigation by the financial watchdog.

Read more: Now MPs in the UK are demanding answers from Equifax about the huge hack

Hargreaves Lansdown fund manager Charlie Huggins said: "Credit scoring businesses are privy to sensitive consumer and business information and cyber-attacks are becoming more and more sophisticated. The scale of the Equifax data security breach took everyone by surprise and the consequences have been dire. The number one priority for Experian is to ensure its data security defences are as strong as possible, so that hopefully it can avoid a similar fate to its US peer."

He added: "Experian is a vital cog in the global economy, enabling businesses to lend to consumers with confidence. We believe the long term growth prospects for the business are excellent, providing it can keep the data hackers at bay.”

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