Target Breach: Senators Seek HearingSession Would Consider If Stronger Data Safeguards Needed
Three Democratic senators are calling on the Senate Banking Committee to examine whether stronger cybersecurity standards are needed to protect consumer data following a breach at Target stores that affected as many as 40 million debit and credit cards.
U.S. senators Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Mark Warner of Virginia and Charles Schumer of New York, all members of the Senate Banking Committee, sent a letter Dec. 30 requesting the panel hold a hearing. "We believe it would be valuable for the committee to examine whether market participants are taking all appropriate actions to safeguard consumer data and protect against fraud, identity theft and other harmful consequences," the senators said in the letter.
The letter says the committee should consider whether certain technologies, such as chip-enabled payment cards using the EMV standard, should be implemented faster to improve security (see EMV: The Outlook for 2014).
"We also believe it would be helpful for the committee to hear from our financial regulators as to whether they have the necessary tools, information and authority to ensure that financial companies and service providers are doing enough to protect consumer data, and, in the event that a breach does occur, to minimize the harm to affected parties and take appropriate enforcement actions," the letter states.
On Dec. 23, Target confirmed malware was to blame for an infection of its point-of-sale system that likely exposed details associated with as many as 40 million debit and credit cards between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 (see: Target: Breach Caused by Malware).
"Breaches such as [Target's] expose businesses, banks and card companies to losses from fraudulent charges or withdrawals using stolen information," the senators say in their letter. "As companies collect, store, and process ever-greater quantities of consumer data, they - and our regulators - must become even more vigilant against breaches and improper use."