New program to provide retailers with information on cybersecurity threats

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ABOVE: Warner at a news conference held Tuesday at LaDifference in Richmond.

A new program, set to launch in June,aims to help retailers fight against cyber attacks.

The National Retail Federation is moving forward with the creation of a program providing retailers access to information on cybersecurity threats identified by government and law enforcement agencies and the financial services sector.

This will be done through creation of a retail Information Sharing and Analysis Center and consultation with the already-established Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, which includes firms in the banking and finance industries. 

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia announced the program at a news conference in downtown Richmond on Tuesday.

“We need to be able to respond in a quick, collaborative way, sometimes legislatively, but a lot of times it’s going to require good, common sense and business collaboration because, at the end of the day, these cyber criminals can appear anywhere, and they [have the] potential to rip off our system at levels that would make… the gangsters of the early 20th century seem small potatoes,” Warner said.

The Democratic senator called for establishment of the program in a letter to the Federal Trade Commission earlier this year.

At the news conference, Warner also mentioned other cybersecurity legislation he is working on.  That includes the Consumer Debit Card Protection Act of 2014 (introduced with Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), which would give consumers equal protection in dealing with debit card fraud. Under federal law, personal liability for fraudulent charges on a credit card are capped at $50, whereas consumers may have to pay more than $500 for fraudulent charges on a debit card. The legislation would cap liability at $50 for debit card holders.

Warner also mentioned a piece of legislation introduced with Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) that would allow the Internal Revenue Service to alert taxpayers that they have been victims of identity theft. The bill also would permit the agency to alert law enforcement agencies so that they can track and catch identity thieves. According to a recent news release issued by Johnson’s office, the IRS’ interpretation of privacy laws led it to believe it cannot warn a defrauded taxpayer whose Social Security number has been stolen.

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