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Equifax, the credit reference agency, has warned investors that profits have tumbled in the aftermath of Septembers cyber attack.

The attack exposed confidential data in excess of more than 15 million UK accounts and in the region of 145 million Americans.

In a statement issued yesterday evening, the company warned that it is now in the process of dealing with more than 240 class-action lawsuits and 60 government-linked inquiries.

Unsurprisingly it warned investors that it has dramatically increased its spending on security and lawyers.

Quarterly profits at the firm fell by 27 per cent, while revenue also fell below analyst expectations, with some commentators suggesting that the company could even go out of business in the aftermath of the cyber attack

In total, revenue in the latest quarter grew by four per cent to $834.8m, although the company had briefed investors that revenues would grow by six per cent.

The cyber attack has already cost the company $27.3m, on top of the $56m cost of free credit monitoring dished out shortly after the attack. This cost could reach $110m, the company warned.

US customers will be able to access the TrustedID Premier credit monitor service for free over the next year, but that’s unlikely to be enough to salvage the company’s tarnished reputation.

Paulino do Rego Barros, who took over as interim CEO in September when former CEO Richard Smith left shortly after the attack, said that the company had invested a great deal of money and resources to improve its security and to ensure such an incident never happens again. Well what else could he say?

He also said that the company has hired a team of cyber security specialists to ensure that it is following the right strategies to protect account data, and is deploying a range of vulnerability – and intrusion-detection tools. On this point what were they doing before?