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U.S. Senators Call for SEC Report on Cybersecurity Breach Amid Market Disruption

Two U.S. Senators, J.D. Vance and Thom Tillis, have urged the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to provide a comprehensive report to Congress regarding the security breach that occurred on January 9 involving the SEC’s X Twitter account.

In a letter addressed to SEC Chair Gary Gensler on the same day as the incident, the senators expressed their grave concerns about the breach and its implications for the SEC’s internal cybersecurity protocols.

The senators emphasized that the breach was not only a matter of cybersecurity but also ran contrary to the SEC’s fundamental mission, which includes safeguarding investors, ensuring fair and efficient markets, and promoting capital formation.

They were particularly troubled by the “widespread confusion” caused by the hack, which prompted their request for a detailed report from the SEC to Congress.

The letter set a deadline of January 23 for the SEC to submit the report, drawing attention to an existing mandate that compels businesses to disclose the impact of any cybersecurity incident within four days.

The senators specifically asked whether the SEC could provide Congress with a report within this mandated timeframe if the breach was indeed a result of a cybersecurity attack, seeking an explanation if such a deadline couldn’t be met.

The breach, which occurred on January 9, involved the SEC’s X Twitter account posting a false tweet claiming that spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) had received approval in the United States.

READ MORE: SEC Chair Warns of Crypto Risks Amid Spot Bitcoin ETF Decision

The ensuing confusion in the cryptocurrency community was short-lived as Gensler later confirmed that the SEC’s X account had been compromised and the tweet unauthorized.

Critics, including investors and market participants, criticized the SEC for its lack of preparedness against cyberattacks and online threats.

An internal investigation by X, formerly Twitter, revealed that the SEC account did not have two-factor authentication enabled at the time of the breach.

The report from X also indicated that the breach occurred because an unidentified individual gained control over a phone number linked to the @SECGov account through a third party.

Several other prominent government officials, including Senators Cynthia Lummis and Bill Hagerty, as well as Representative Ann Wagner, echoed the concerns of their congressional colleagues.

Hagerty demanded full transparency regarding the incident, while Lummis emphasized the risks associated with fraudulent announcements that can manipulate financial markets, calling for clarity on such incidents.

These collective concerns highlight the urgent need for a comprehensive report from the SEC to address the security breach and its broader implications.

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