Security & Fraud

Senators Want FTC To Investigate Amazon Over CapOne Hack

Democratic Senators are calling on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to conduct an inquiry into Amazon regarding the Capital One breach, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday (Oct. 24). 

The senators allege that the eCommerce giant disregarded danger signs that left customers’ data exposed in one of the largest cyberattacks on record. They want the FTC to determine if Amazon’s negligence violates federal law as an “unfair business practice.” 

Senate Finance Committee head Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts wrote a letter to the FTC outlining allegations that Amazon knew there were cloud vulnerabilities where its customer Capital One kept sensitive data. The letter further says Amazon was aware of the vulnerabilities a year before the breach happened. 

A letter was also sent to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin by two Democratic House members in August requesting more oversight regarding cloud providers.

As traditional data centers are increasingly replaced by the cloud, lawmakers are worried there could be security issues that financial institutions don’t understand. 

The Capital One hack in July exposed data tied to over 100 million individuals in the United States. A former employee of Amazon’s cloud unit, Paige A. Thompson, was charged with the breach. She is awaiting trial in March after pleading not guilty to the charges.

A senior official at the European Central Bank (ECB) said in August that cyberattacks come with embracing the digital age. Many financial institutions in Europe do not store sensitive data on public clouds.

“There will be accidents, especially in the cloud,” Korbinian Ibel, a director general at the ECB’s supervisory operations, said at the time. “It’s not that clouds are more vulnerable, they’re actually often better protected than in-house systems, but they’re seen as juicy targets.”

U.S. banks have been increasingly enlisting the aid of tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon while bringing operations and data to the cloud. Such moves are tied to the desire to streamline operations, move beyond legacy systems and cut costs. This last point is especially desirable in an age where lower interest rates mean top lines see pressure.

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