Security & Fraud

SEC Chairman Peppered With Cybersecurity Questions By Congress

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton, who was recently interrogated in a Senate hearing over a cyberattack of the government agency’s EDGAR database for corporate filings, said he thinks his predecessor, Mary Jo White, had no knowledge of the data breach that occurred last year.

According to news from Reuters, citing comments Clayton made in the Senate hearing, the chairman said he wasn’t certain on the exact timing of the EDGAR cyberattack. He also said companies that are publicly traded should provide more information on cybercrimes much sooner. The SEC is currently working on new guidelines on that front.

Clayton claimed he waited until last week to disclose the EDGAR hack, after he had sufficient information for it to be considered serious. “I have no belief sitting here that Chair White knew,” Clayton said when asked whether his predecessor had been aware of the hack, reported Reuters. “I don’t think we can know for sure” when the data breach happened.

The SEC head also got peppered with questions about the massive data breach at Equifax that potentially exposed 143 million customers’ personal data and 209,000 credit card numbers.

As for the data breach at the SEC, Clayton said he is still looking into the issue to determine its extent and to figure out what kind of impact the cybercrime will have, which he said may take “substantial time.”

On the potential for other cybersecurity incidents, Clayton said he couldn’t say with 100 percent certainty if EDGAR was the only thing breached. He is also advocating for more funds from Congress to fight hacks. “We’re going to need more money for cybersecurity, and I intend to ask for it,” Clayton said, according to Reuters.

Last week, Reuters reported news that the SEC discovered back in August that hackers may have broken into EDGAR to make illegal trades on the information.

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