November 18, 2014

Cummings and Warren Ramp Up Investigation of Consumer Data Breaches Throughout U.S. Financial Sector

Washington, D.C. (Nov. 18, 2014)-In light of reports that more than 500 million records have been compromised due to data security breaches in the U.S. financial sector over the past year, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings and Senator Elizabeth Warren sent letters today to 16 banks, investment firms, and other financial service providers requesting information about recent data breaches and seeking detailed briefings from corporate IT security officers.

"The increasing number of cyber-attacks and data breaches is unprecedented and poses a clear and present danger to our nation's economic security," Cummings and Warren wrote. "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."

The Members cited press accounts reporting that law enforcement officials believe the "U.S. financial sector is one of the most targeted in the world," and that approximately "80% of hacking victims in the business community didn't even realize they had been hacked until they were told by investigators."

Multiple press accounts report that hackers have been breaching or attempting to breach the data security systems of multiple financial firms as part of a broad campaign of cyber-attacks, and the list of affected financial entities continues to grow.

In letters to two companies, Citigroup and US Bank, Cummings and Warren also requested information about how potential data breaches may have affected their administration of government purchase and charge cards under contracts with the General Services Administration.

Today's letters follow letters Cummings sent last week to retailers and other companies, including Home Depot, Target, Community Health Systems, Kmart, and USIS, as well as similar letters to the Postal Service and State Department.

Click below to read the letters to the 16 financial institutions:

Bank of America
Bank of NY Mellon
Bank of the West
Deutsche Bank
Goldman Sachs
Morgan Stanley
US Bank
Wells Fargo