WASHINGTON - Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., are pressing more than a dozen financial services companies for information about recent data breaches.
The duo sent letters to 16 banks and investment firms on Tuesday, requesting details on any cybercrimes the companies have faced in the last year, including how many customers were affected and any measures the institutions have taken in response. Warren and Cummings also asked for a briefing from a top technology officer at each of the companies.
The move comes in the wake of several major consumer breaches at banks like JPMorgan Chase and large retailers in recent months, which has spurred increased focus from regulators and lawmakers alike. Congress has been slow to pass legislation this term to improve information sharing and simplify data breach notification standards, and the issue is likely to remain a hot topic for discussion next year.
"The increasing number of cyber-attacks and data breaches is unprecedented and poses a clear and present danger to our nation's economic security," the lawmakers wrote in the Nov. 18 letters. "Each successive cyber-attack and data breach not only results in hefty costs and liabilities for businesses, but exposes consumers to identity theft and other fraud, as well as a host of other cyber-crimes. Your ability to protect consumers and safeguard their personal information is central to earning and maintaining consumer confidence in our economic system."
Cummings, the ranking member on the House Oversight Committee, sent similar letters to a handful of retailers last week - including Target and Home Depot, both attacked earlier this year - along with the Postal Service and the State Department.
The financial companies contacted by lawmakers included Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, Bank of the West, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, US Bank and Well Fargo, among others.