Equifax says 15.2 million UK records accessed in cyber breach

(Reuters) – U.S.-based credit reporting agency Equifax Inc said on Tuesday that the massive cyber attack it disclosed in September compromised the sensitive personal details of nearly 700,000 consumers in the United Kingdom.

Equifax said that 15.2 million UK records dating from 2011 to 2016 were exposed in the incident, which affected 145.5 million people overall, but that 14.5 million of the exposed UK records did not contain information that put consumers at risk.

Reporting by John McCrank in New York; Editing by Richard Chang

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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RBC CEO McKay says AI helping to curb credit card fraud

TORONTO (Reuters) – Royal Bank of Canada’s (RY.TO) chief executive, Dave McKay, said on Thursday that artificial intelligence (AI) is helping the bank reduce credit card fraud, and he said the bank expects to use blockchain technology in its loyalty programs next year.

McKay said in a Reuters Newsmaker interview with Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen Adler that the bank is spending over C$ 10 million ($ 8.04 million) a year on artificial intelligence.

Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Leslie Adler

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Facebook Says It Will Share Russian Ads With Congress

Facebook has for weeks remained tight-lipped about the ads it sold to Russian operatives during the U.S. presidential election. But on Thursday, the social network reversed course and said it would provide details to Congress.

In a blog post titled, “Hard Questions,” a Facebook executive explained that the company had conducted an extensive policy review and decided to release details about the ads, in part because of the “extraordinary investigation” by Congress.

“[W]e’ve concluded that sharing the ads we’ve discovered with Congress … will help government authorities complete the vitally important work of assessing what happened in the 2016 election,” wrote Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s vice president of policy and communications.

The decision comes amid growing scrutiny of the ad sales, which reportedly cost at least $ 100,000 and may have helped sway voters’ opinions ahead of last November’s election. Russia is widely suspected of conducting an extensive campaign on U.S. social media platforms, including Facebook, as part of a bid to support then-candidate Donald Trump.

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The ads also came into focus after Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor investigating Russia’s role in the election, executed a search warrant on Facebook, which would have allowed him to obtain details of the ad sales.

In the blog post, Facebook’s Schrage also stated the company would not disclose information about the ads to the public, citing concern for advertisers’ privacy.

Schrage also used the post, which is in a Q&A format, to adamantly disavow any knowledge by Facebook that Russia had bought the political ads.

“No, we didn’t. The vast majority of our over 5 million advertisers use our self-service tools,” he wrote. “This allows individuals or businesses to create a Facebook Page, attach a credit card or some other payment method and run ads promoting their posts. In some situations, Facebook employees work directly with our larger advertisers. In the case of the Russian ads, none of those we found involved in-person relationships.”

The post also acknowledged that the company might unearth more advertising accounts used by Russia or other foreign actors to sway the political process.

Critics argue there is a lack of oversight for how political spending occurs on social media, and have called for Facebook and other firms to be subject to similar transparency rules as other media broadcasters.

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