Oversight Republicans demand answers on Capital One data breach

Oversight Republicans demand answers on Capital One data breach
© Greg Nash

Top Republicans on the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Thursday demanded briefings from both Capital One and Amazon following the breach of data for more than 100 million Capital One customers that was stored through Amazon cloud storage services.

The lawmakers, including ranking member Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel Jordan10 top Republicans who continue to deny the undeniable Ex-Trump aide to tell Congress she objected to Ukrainian ambassador's removal: report A Republican Watergate veteran's perspective on a Trump impeachment MORE (R-Ohio), asked that both companies provide staff-level briefings to detail the data breach by Aug. 15. The House is in recess until Sept. 9. 

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“The committee regularly conducts oversight of data breaches at financial institutions,” Jordan and subcommittee ranking members Reps. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsEx-Ukraine ambassador arrives to give testimony GOP seeks to gain more control of impeachment narrative Conservative lawmakers demand Schiff's recusal from Trump impeachment inquiry MORE (R-N.C.) and Michael Cloud (R-Texas) wrote to Capital One CEO Richard Fairbank.

“To help us more fully understand Capital One’s recent incident and its potential to affect millions of Americans, we ask that you please arrange a staff-level briefing on the incident, its nature and scope, as well as Capital One’s response to the disclosure,” they added.

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsCracks emerge in White House strategy as witness testifies Overnight Defense: Pentagon insists US hasn't abandoned Kurds | Trump expands sanctions authority against Turkey | Ex-Ukraine ambassador says Trump pushed for her ouster On The Money: Trump announces limited trade deal with China | Appeals court rules against Trump over financial records | Trump expands authority to sanction Turkey MORE (D-Md.) also expressed interest in looking into the data breach, telling The Hill in a statement on Thursday that “our Committee has a long and bipartisan history of investigating data breaches in the government and private sector, and we look forward to hearing more information about what happened from Capital One.”

The breach, announced earlier this week, impacted about 100 million Americans and 6 million Canadians, and involved an individual gaining access to Capital One credit card applications and about 140,000 Social Security numbers and 80,000 bank account numbers.

The members noted in writing to both Fairbank and Amazon CEO Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosWashington Post publisher: 'Corrosive' to liken unfavorable news to 'fake news' Trump joins Twitch platform Freedom of the press under fire in Colorado MORE that this amounts to one of the largest data breaches of a major financial institution. 

The individual allegedly involved in the breach, Seattle-based software engineer Paige Thompson, was arrested this week.

Thompson, who the committee leaders noted is reportedly a former Amazon employee, was arrested after she posted on GitHub last month about having accessed Capital One customer data stored on a cloud storage service provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS). Another GitHub user tipped off Capital One and the company subsequently informed the FBI. 

According to the Justice Department, Thompson was able to access the data due to a “misconfigured web application firewall,” and according to Capital One accessed the data over two days in March. 

The committee members wrote to Bezos that they planned to “carefully examine the consequences of the breach” because of a plan to use AWS servers to store 2020 census data and to run the Department of Defense’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud computing system. 

While Amazon did not immediately respond to request for comment on this story, a spokesperson for Capital One told The Hill that "we have proactively engaged in discussions with lawmakers and elected officials since the arrest of the perpetrator of this cyber incident on Monday and will continue to do so."

The House Oversight and Reform Committee will likely not be alone in examining the Capital One data breach. 

A spokesperson for Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoGOP requests update on criminal referrals prompted by 2018 Kavanaugh probe Nearing finish line, fight for cannabis banking bill shifts to the Senate On The Money: Trump strikes trade deal with Japan on farm goods | GOP senator to meet Trump amid spending stalemate | House passes cannabis banking bill | Judge issues one-day pause on subpoena for Trump's tax returns MORE (R-Idaho) told The Hill earlier this week that he is “is looking into the matter and will investigate it further,” while the committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownBlood cancer patients deserve equal access to the cure Trump admin abruptly delays funding for human trafficking victims: report Overnight Energy: Lawmakers show irritation over withheld Interior documents | Republican offers bipartisan carbon tax bill | Scientists booted from EPA panel form new group MORE (Ohio), told The Hill he would support holding hearings on the data breach. 

Updated at 4:15 p.m.