Credit reporting agency Equifax has suffered a massive cyber attack that may have affected up to 143 million people in the US.
Equifax confirmed the breach via a statement saying cyber criminals gained unauthorised access to personal information between mid-May and July this year.
However, the company stopped short of explaining why it waited six weeks to break news of the attack.
It is believed that the hackers accessed Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver's licence numbers during the incident, as well as credit card information of around 209,000 US consumers.
Considering the total population of US is 323.1 million, the breach may potentially have hit close to half of the people living in the US.
In a video on the company's website, Equifax chairman Rick Smith, said: “This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do. I apologise to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes.”
Equifax - one of America’s largest credit reporting agencies - analyses financial data records that cover a wide range of consumers from around the world.