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In wake of banking hacks, Senate will focus on finance industry security

December 5, 2014, 8:57 PM UTC
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Photograph by Comstock/Getty Images

In the aftermath of a massive hacking attack on several banks this summer, the Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday about protecting the finance industry from cyber crime.

High-ranking federal officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service, the Treasury Department and the Department of Homeland Security are scheduled to appear. The meeting is expected to focus on ways that the various federal agencies can better coordinate with one another in their efforts to prevent and respond to cyber attacks in the financial sector.

Political leaders are focusing on the issue after news in August that hackers hit JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and several other banks in a massive cyber attack. JPMorgan later revealed that the attack compromised the accounts of 76 million households and 7 million small businesses, though the bank has said it has found no evidence of higher than normal instances of fraud or abuse of customer information.

The U.S. government concerned about cybersecurity in the financial sector, which it sees as a prime target for hackers looking to gain access to countless customers’ financial accounts and information. There has even been concern that such attacks could be state-sponsored, with the NSA Director Mike Rogers saying recently that foreign governments could back hackers in cyber espionage.

So far, the majority of high-profile data breaches have occurred in the world of retail, where companies such as Target (TGT), Home Depot (HD) and Kmart have seen hackers gain access to tens of millions of customers’ information. Just last week, a cyber attack shut down the computer system at Sony Pictures Entertainment in an incident that led to numerous sensitive company documents being released to the web. Meanwhile, Bebe Stores became the latest business to suffer a cyber attack when the women’s retailer said this week it was hit by a data breach over a period of a couple of weeks last month.