Following the revelation this month about Target Corp.'s data breach, Democratic Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia and Robert Menendez of New Jersey plan to put companies' fraud and identity theft-prevention practices under the microscope.
Warner and Menendez on Monday urged the Senate Banking Committee to hold a hearing on whether businesses are doing enough to protect consumer data and if stronger cybersecurity standards are needed. The senators wrote in a letter to panel Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) that "consumers’ interests must come first."
"With our economy and financial sector becoming increasingly information-based and data-reliant, consumers depend on the companies and financial service providers with whom they do business to protect their sensitive information," the senators wrote. "As companies collect, store, and process ever-greater quantities of consumer data, they—and our regulators—must become even more vigilant against breaches and improper use."
In its most recent website update on the breach, Target on Dec. 27 said debit card PIN information was among the data taken during the hack. But the PIN information is "safe and secure" through encryption, Target said. The investigation into the hack is "continuing and ongoing," the company added.
Target said it is working with the U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. Secret Service on the probe, noting that it isn't under investigation by U.S. authorities. Tim Baer, Target's executive vice president and general counsel, also has spoken with state attorneys general about the company's work on the matter.
"We take this crime seriously," Gregg Steinhafel, Target's president and chief executive officer, said in a Dec. 20 written statement. "It was a crime against Target, our team members, and most importantly, our guests."