Channel 2 gets an exclusive look inside Equifax’s cybersecurity war room

ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Only Channel 2 Action News got an inside the epicenter of cybersecurity for Atlanta-based Equifax.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne was invited inside the Alpharetta security center, where Equifax has a team of cyberexperts working to prevent any more breaches like the one that impacted 145 million Americans.

The building was stripped down to its shell and remade into a security center as part of Equifax’s response to the massive 2017 data breach.

The building includes a high-tech command post where Equifax experts battle cybercriminals from across the world, protecting sensitive information for all of us. Officials told Winne the building is the epicenter of Equifax security.

“Fundamentally, what we’ve done is changed the culture of the organization,” said Adam Tice, with Equifax.

Jamil Farshchi is the credit bureau’s cybersecurity boss. He leads the team at the Alpharetta command center that works every day to thwart threats from around the world.

“Everything from new threats from nation states to organized crime,” Farshchi said. “We built trust and security into our DNA.”

U.S. Attorney Bjay Pak said a data breach victimizing Equifax, in which four members of the people's Republic of China military were accused, is the biggest data breach ever indicted in the United States.

Farshchi told Winne that the $1.25 billion Equifax committed to fixing things after the 2017 breach symbolizes the biggest response a company has ever made to a breach.

“We’ve hired over 1,000 security and technology individuals,” Farshchi said

Winne was told Farshchi’s hiring was part of the fix, as well as the security center and the people in it.

Tice told Winne that the company even pays hackers to find vulnerabilities.

“The purpose of the threat intelligence team, also based here, is to find evidence of threats against Equifax before they can be taken advantage of by the bad guys. And sometimes that includes actually talking to those bad guys using fake identities,” Tice said.

Channel 2 Action News sought the Chinese government’s comment after the indictment. An email response said in part, “We firmly oppose and combat cyber-attacks of any kind.”

“If that same attack was launched today, would you catch them?” Winne asked Farshchi.

“Absolutely. We have fortified our defenses across many different layers,” Farshchi said.

Farshchi said Equifax pulled together security experts from across metro Atlanta into a group called ATLAS, which stands for Atlanta for the Advancement of Security, realizing that a cyberthreat to one company might be a threat to all companies.

Farshchi said Equifax is spending the $1.25 billion over three years to combat any more cyberattacks.