WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, a member of the Senate Banking Committee and co-founder of the bipartisan Senate Cybersecurity Caucus, released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Justice announced indictments against four men, including two agents of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), for a 2014 hack of Yahoo that resulted in the theft of data of at least 500 million users:
“I applaud the Department of Justice for naming names and bringing criminal charges against the individuals responsible for the Yahoo hack, including two individuals who are on the payroll of the Russian government.
“I continue to believe Yahoo had a responsibility to be more forthcoming in publicly reporting this breach sooner than it did, and both the public and private sectors often move too slowly to address the growing threats posed by cyber criminals. Today’s indictments are yet another reminder that American businesses must invest in robust cyber defenses, be more willing to share threat information, and be much more upfront with consumers when their defenses fail. And our justice system has a responsibility to pursue and prosecute those responsible whenever and wherever possible to the fullest extent of the law, whether the motivation was financial or political.
“Today’s indictments shed a light on the close and mutually beneficial ties between the cyber underworld and Russia’s government and security services, and the extent to which Russia leverages these cyber activities to multiple ends: commercial, financial, and geopolitical. This simply underscores the complexity and the urgency of the task facing the Senate Intelligence Committee in its bipartisan investigation into Russia’s interference in America’s 2016 elections.”
Sen. Warner is the cofounder of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus and has been a leader in calling for better consumer protections from data theft. In the aftermath of the Target credit card breach which exposed the debit and credit card information of 40 million customers, Sen. Warner in 2014 chaired the first congressional hearing on protecting consumer data. Following the news of the first data breach targeting Yahoo accounts, Sen. Warner called on the Security and Exchange Commission to investigate whether Yahoo fulfilled its obligations to investors by appropriately disclosing the breach.