In light of Target breach, senators push for hearing on consumer data security

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In light of the massive holiday breach hitting Target, three senators are pushing lawmakers to assemble to discuss the future of cyber security standards for businesses and financial service providers.

On Monday, Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Mark Warner, D-Va., and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., wrote a letter (PDF) requesting that the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs hold a congressional hearing on the Target breach “as soon as reasonably possible.”

“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, and whether we need stronger industry-wide cyber security standards,” the letter said. 

In addition to discussing the value of EMV chip-based payment cards, or smart cards, to improve credit and debit card transactional security, the senators wrote that the meeting would provide an opportunity 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.”

Regarding the Target breach – which exposed approximately 40 million credit and debit cards, along with CVV codes and names of shoppers – troubling details about the incident continue to surface.

Most recently, Target confirmed that encrypted PIN information was also accessed in the attack.

The company revealed the news last Friday, despite the fact that it had previously maintained that it had “no reason to believe that PIN data, whether encrypted or unencrypted, was compromised,” as stated by a spokeswoman.

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