WASHINGTON Feb 3 The Secret Service on Monday
urged U.S. lawmakers to do more to prevent the types of cyber
thefts of consumer information that recently have hit Target
Corp and other major retailers.
"Legislative action could help to improve the nation's
cybersecurity, reduce regulatory costs on U.S. companies, and
strengthen law enforcement's ability to conduct effective
investigations," said William Noonan, a top agent with the
Secret Service's cyber operations branch.
Noonan testified at a Senate Banking subcommittee hearing on
safeguarding consumer financial data, the first of a series of
panels scheduled this week in response to the Target breach and
Target, the No. 3 U.S. retailer, was hit by a massive cyber
theft over the holiday shopping period. Some 40 million credit
and debit card records were stolen, along with 70 million other
records with customer information such as addresses and
While the Secret Service has been the lead player in the
Target investigation, Noonan discussed its information-sharing
efforts on cyber crime with other federal agencies as well as
international law enforcement bodies such as Interpol.
Noonan focused on the transnational nature of cyber crimes,
including "network intrusions, hacking attacks, malicious
software, and account takeovers leading to significant data
breaches affecting every sector of the world economy."
"The recently reported data breaches of Target and Neiman
Marcus are just the most recent, well-publicized examples of
this decade-long trend," Noonan said.
Luxury department store operator Neiman Marcus
in late January said that about 1.1 million customer payment
cards may have been exposed during a data breach that occurred
from July 16 to Oct. 30 last year.
Congress has been wrestling for years with proposals for
legislation on data security, but has been unable to reach
agreement. There is, for example, no national standard to govern
how and when businesses that suffer consumer data breaches much
advise their customers and federal agencies.
On Tuesday senior officials from Target and Neiman Marcus
are scheduled to testify at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing
about recent data breaches.