US lawmaker asks Sony for details on data breach

Information from Sony can help Congress craft new cybersecurity laws, Cummings says

A senior U.S. lawmaker wants Sony Pictures Entertainment to provide details about its recent data breach and its cybersecurity practices, saying the information will help Congress decide whether new laws are needed.

Sony's "knowledge, information and experience will be helpful" as Congress decides whether to pass new cybersecurity laws and take steps to protect consumer and government financial information, Representative Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, wrote in a letter Tuesday to Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton.

"The increasing number and sophistication of cyber attacks on both public and private entities pose a clear and present danger to our national security and highlight the urgent need for greater collaboration to improve data security," wrote Cummings, the senior Democrat on the House of Representatives Oversight Committee.

Last week, the FBI assigned responsibility for the attack on Sony to North Korea, which presumably did it to protest the Sony movie, "The Interview," a comedy about a plot to assassinate the country's leader Kim Jong-un.

Cummings' letter asks Sony to provide him with a description of all data breaches at the company over the past year and the number of employees and customers affected by those breaches.

The lawmaker also wants Sony to provide a forensic analysis of those breaches, including any evidence of malware. He also wants a description of data protection measures the company has taken since the large November breach and recommendations from Sony on needed improvements to cybersecurity laws.

Cummings gave the company a month to respond to his letter.

Sony didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on Cummings' letter.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is

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Tags securitydata breachKim Jong-unSony Pictures EntertainmentU.S. CongressMichael LyntongovernmentElijah Cummings

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