Mar 14, 2018

Charged Equifax exec figured out firm was breached on his own

The headquarters of credit bureau Equifax in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado via Getty Images

Equifax U.S. Chief Information Officer Jun Ying, whom the SEC alleges illegally traded shares in the company after a data breach, wasn't told by the company about the incident and instead pieced together that Equifax was breached on his own from scraps of information, according to the SEC's insider trading complaint.

Why it matters: Figuring it out on his own might be a key point in Ying's defense if the case went to trial, according to David Axelrod, a former supervisory trial counsel at the SEC. "A defense attorney could say he did not have material knowledge of the breach," said Axelrod, who is now an attorney for Ballard Spahr.

The details: After the breach, claims the complaint, Equifax alerted a small group of insiders in a clean up effort it called "Project Sierra." The I.T. employees brought in were told they were working on a large breach at an anonymous client. That group, "Project Sparta," included Ying.

  • “On the phone with [global CIO]. Sounds bad. We may be the one breached. . . . Starting to put 2 and 2 together,” Ying wrote in an email cited in the complaint.

The impact: Axelrod does not believe that a case with this much evidence against a defendant is likely to go to trial, and would be tough to sell to a jury or prosecutor. But the complaint does show Equifax had procedures in place to prevent some employees from trading on the information, suggesting that the company was "thinking clearly" about the trading issue.

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Biden doubts Democratic convention can go ahead as planned amid outbreak

2020 candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden during the Democratic presidential debate in a CNN studio in Washington, D.C. on March 15. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

2020 candidate Joe Biden said on MSNBC Tuesday evening it's "hard to envision" the Democratic National Convention going ahead as planned in July when cases of the novel coronavirus continue to rise. But he believes elections can take place during pandemics if alternative methods are used — like "drive-in voting."

The big picture: President Trump said earlier Tuesday projections indicated COVID-19 could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans. The virus has killed more than 4,000 people and infected almost 190,000 others as of Wednesday morning, per Johns Hopkins data.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 a.m. ET: 859,796 — Total deaths: 42,332 — Total recoveries: 178,300.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 2 a.m. ET: 189,618 — Total deaths: 4,079 — Total recoveries: 7,109.
  3. Business updates: Should you pay your rent or mortgage during the coronavirus pandemic? Find out if you are protected under the CARES Act.
  4. Public health updates: More than 400 long-term care facilities across the U.S. report patients with coronavirus — Older adults and people with underlying health conditions are more at risk, new data shows.
  5. Federal government latest: President Trump said the next two weeks would be "very painful," with projections indicating the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans.
  6. Coronavirus in custody: Inmates in all U.S. federal prisons are set to enter a 14-day quarantine on April 1. A federal judge on Tuesday ordered U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release 10 detained immigrants who are at risk of contracting COVID-19 while in confinement.
  7. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Captain of nuclear aircraft carrier docked in Guam pleaded with the U.S. Navy for more resources after more than 100 members of his crew tested positive.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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NYC races to build field hospitals as coronavirus death toll tops 1,000

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announces at the USTA Bille Jean King tennis center that the venue will be transformed into a 350-bed temporary hospital. Photo: Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news conference Tuesday of plans to triple hospital bed numbers to combat the novel coronavirus by transforming facilities into makeshift hospitals — including U.S. Open tennis courts.

The big picture: The city now accounts for a quarter of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. — more than 1,000 as of Wednesday morning. De Blasio said the city had "about 20,000 working hospital beds in our major hospitals" before the outbreak. "We now need to, in just the next weeks ... produce three times that number," he said.