Congress Investigates Cyber Breaches at Federal Reserve

Published: June 3, 2016 10:05 PM /


US House Seal

A congressional committee has launched an investigation to find out more information about cyber breaches at the Federal Reserve which were reported recently. Concerns about the Fed's cyber security measures were raised few days ago, when Reuters obtained cyber security reports through a Freedom of Information Act request. The reports were heavily redacted, so not all the details were known, but it did reveal that the Federal Reserve detected more than 50 cyber breaches between 2011 and 2015, several of which were considered to be acts of espionage. The redacted version of the reports did not say who was responsible for the breaches, or if any money or sensitive information was stolen.

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology sent a letter to Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, seeking more information about these breaches. Citing the Reuters article about the breaches, the letter states, "These reports raise serious concerns about the Federal Reserve's cyber security posture, including its ability to prevent threats from compromising highly sensitive financial information housed on the agency's systems."

The committee is asking the Fed to turn over unredacted cyber security reports from 2009 to the present day. They also requested all documents and communications related to "higher impact cases." The committee also wanted a chart which detailed the Fed's top cyber security personnel. The committee claimed jurisdiction over cyber security concerns because a federal law gives the committee oversight over the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency which develops cyber security guidelines.

Concerns over cyber attacks have intensified after a cyber heist targeted banks in Bangladesh earlier this year. The same committee has already launched an investigation into the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's handling of a theft of $81 million from one of its accounts held by the central bank of Bangladesh.

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I’m a technology reporter located near the Innovation District of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario.