New legislation aims to warn consumers of security hacks

ALBANY, N.Y. – Major companies have been hit by hackers and personal data has been exposed, so now President Obama is pressuring Congress to make sure consumers are better protected.

“Don’t know how it happened or when it happened,” RPI Ph.D student Jeremy Blackthorne said.

About a year ago, Blackthorne logged onto his bank account to find he’d been hacked. But unlike the average person, Blackthorne has experience on the other side of cyber security.

Blackthorne teaches students to outsmart malicious hackers.

“By finding the loopholes, finding the ways to break into computers, they can then patch those systems and design better systems, so the way I look at it, we’re teaching good guys how to do it,” he said.

Recently, high-profile companies such as Target, Home Depot and Staples have been hacked, and now President Obama is taking action.

On Monday, Obama proposed legislation to Congress that requires companies to notify customers of a breach within 30 days. That legislation will go before the Energy and Commerce Committee on which Congressman Paul Tonko serves.

“What is a reasonable time frame, when does that time frame kick in, but undeniably, it’s important to make certain that consumers are protected,” Tonko said.

Dan Didier is the Chief Security Strategist of GreyCastle Security. He said there isn’t a way to protect consumers 100 percent of the time, but the key is knowing what to do when there is a breach.

“What really needs to happen is that companies needs to focus internally and to train their workforce on how to prevent and how to detect these activities before they become a breach,” he said.

Didier said the number one thing a consumer can do is ask the company about their security such as what controls they have in place to secure information and where does it go.

Congressman Tonko said it could be a few months before the legislation goes before his committee.

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