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Schumer urges FTC and DOJ to increase protections against cybersecurity hacks

<i>Win McNamee/Getty Images</i><br/>Chuck Schumer on October 2 urged federal officials to increase their efforts to protect consumers from cybersecurity breaches and investigate those responsible for such hacks.
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Win McNamee/Getty Images
Chuck Schumer on October 2 urged federal officials to increase their efforts to protect consumers from cybersecurity breaches and investigate those responsible for such hacks.

By Aaron Pellish, CNN

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Sunday urged federal officials to increase their efforts to protect consumers from cybersecurity breaches and investigate those responsible for such hacks.

“I am calling on the Federal Trade Commission, first, to ensure that companies do everything they can to protect consumer data, and on the Department of Justice to fully investigate and go after the hackers that aim to harm Americans,” Schumer, a New York Democrat, said at a news conference.

Schumer cited a handful of recent data breaches at private and public organizations, including a hack at Uber that the company disclosed in September. Shortly after the disclosure, Uber said the hackers accessed invoice-related data and company Slack messages.

American Airlines confirmed a data breach last month, according to Schumer’s office. An unauthorized actor gained access to personal information of a small number of customers and employees through a phishing campaign, his office said in a release.

And on September 8, Suffolk County, New York, was the target of what appears to be cyberattack, according to the county’s website, which said officials “believe that the threat actors accessed and/or acquired certain personal information from one or more County agency servers. The County promptly hired multiple cybersecurity firms to conduct an examination to protect employees and residents as well as restore online services.”

Schumer said his office has been in contact with Suffolk County officials and noted that the county had to shut down all of its computer systems to protect government data.

“I know that the county’s been communicating with the federal authorities, as they’re supposed to, with federal law enforcement, and at this point is working to bring the computer system back online,” the senator said.

“We want to know who took (private data), what they did with it, and what consumers need to do to protect themselves, and the responsibility is with the Federal Trade Commission, the FTC, and the Department of Justice, and we’re asking them to make — to redouble their efforts to answer all of these,” he said.

Schumer said he wants a stricter requirement for companies to report data breaches to make as many consumers as possible aware of any possible exposure.

“The law requires a company when it is hacked, or a government agency to notify the federal authorities, but not much more,” he said.

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CNN’s Sean Lyngaas contributed to this report.

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