Attorneys general from Illinois and New York said on Friday that their offices were investigating the massive cyber-security breach revealed by US credit-reporting agency Equifax, and a US House of Representatives committee has said it plans to hold a hearing into the “troubling” incident.

New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman said that he had sent a letter to Equifax seeking additional information about the incident. “The Equifax breach has potentially exposed sensitive personal information of nearly everyone with a credit report, and my office intends to get to the bottom of how and why this massive hack occurred,” Mr Scheiderman said.

His counterpart in Illinois, Lisa Madigan, echoed his concerns and called on the company to suspend charges in connection with placing a credit freeze on individuals’ accounts.

And in Washington, Jeb Hensarling, chair of the House financial services committee, said his panel will hold a hearing to discuss the incident, at a date yet to be determined.

He said in a statement: “This is obviously a very serious and very troubling situation and our committee has already begun preparations for a hearing. Large-scale security breaches are becoming all too common. Every breach leaves consumers exposed and vulnerable to identity theft, fraud and a host of other crimes, and they deserve answers.”

Equifax, one of America’s big-three credit reporting agencies, has come under intense scrutiny after it said Thursday that personal records for 143m US consumers could have been compromised in a massive breach of its cyber defences.

The company said it discovered the intrusion in July 29 and had reported criminal access to law enforcement authorities. It said it was continuing to work with those authorities as its own investigation into the incident continues.

Equifax did not immediately return a request for comment. Its shares have plunged 13 per cent today.

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