Congress to probe McAfee on Operation Shady RAT

Bono Mack, who is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on commerce, manufacturing, and trade, sent a letter Aug. 10 to Dmitri Alperovitch, McAfee’s vice president of threat research, requesting a briefing on the Operation Shady RAT report, which she termed “alarming at least.”

The McAfee Labs report found that a total of 70 organizations spanning 14 countries were victimized by the five-year Shady RAT operation, likely carried out by a foreign government, that stole intellectual property and other proprietary information.

“The subcommittee on commerce, manufacturing, and trade has jurisdiction over cyber security and data security and has engaged in a multi-year oversight effort into the effects on consumers, our international competitiveness, and the economy as a whole. As the subcommittee continues its oversight in this matter, I request a briefing from your security threat research team to inform our efforts,” wrote Bono Mack in the letter.

The congresswoman asked the McAfee researcher to provide answers to a series of questions regarding the report. For example, Bono Mack asked, “Did the logs analyzed by McAfee reveal novel techniques or patterns that would be helpful in our efforts to combat cybercrime?”

Bono Mack asked Alperovitch whether the company’s analysis revealed any disclosure of consumers’ sensitive or personal information. She also asked the researcher if McAfee could quantify the financial impact of Operation Shady RAT on US businesses, consumers, and the economy as a whole.

The California congresswoman’s legislation, which would establish uniform national standards for data breach notification, passed her subcommittee in July and is expected to be taken up by the full committee next month.

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