Janet Yellen, chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System told Congress that cybersecurity “is one of the most significant risk our country faces.” Yellen called on financial institutions to make sure internal controls are in place to effectively respond to cybersecurity threats.
Cybersecurity issues pervade many industries across the U.S. and that data breaches and other hacking incidents directly impact industries from financial services to the technology sector. But hearing a warning from the top monetary policy official for the U.S. is still scary.
Banks, financial services firms and other companies that collect personal financial data may be at a greater risk for cyberattacks because of the ability of hackers to quickly monetize the sensitive information. Data breaches at JPMorgan Chase and Bangladesh Central Bank are just a few of many financial data breaches that affected millions of consumers who put their trust in the banks.
Yellen didn’t ignore cybersecurity threats that impact the Fed itself. The Fed is trying to “make sure our own systems are safe and meet the highest standards.” However, the Fed can’t work alone to protect against cybersecurity threats. Cybersecurity threats are “very broad” and Congress must look at this issue “very carefully” and adopt legislation, if needed, to strengthen U.S. cybersecurity infrastructure, Yellen said.
Don’t expect the Fed’s cybersecurity stance to change because President-elect Donald Trump was elected president. Amid speculation that Trump would seek Yellen’s resignation, the Fed Chair is expected to serve out her full term through the end of January 2018. “I was confirmed by the Senate to a four-year term, which ends at the end of January of 2018, and it is fully my intention to serve out that term,” Yellen said at the panel hearing.
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