Six Democratic senators have authored a letter to President Obama, urging him while he is at the Group of 20 (G-20) Summit in China on Sunday and Monday to address cyberattacks on financial institutions.

“We write to urge you to work with your international counterparts to prioritize issues related to cybersecurity at financial firms in your discussions at the upcoming G-20 Leaders summit,” the senators wrote. “Cyberattacks on financial institutions have accelerated in recent years, creating significant risks for our international financial system and our global economy. It is critical that the global community craft and implement a coordinated strategy to combat cyber crime at critical financial institutions and to strengthen and accelerate existing efforts.”

The letter’s authors include Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., Gary Peters, D-Mich., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.

The letter cites the February hack that stole $81 million from the Central Bank of Bangladesh using the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) messaging service, as a core motivator to talk about international financial cybersecurity.

“We are aware that SWIFT has implemented measures to encourage its members to investigate their security protocols. However, these incidents make clear that it is not only SWIFT’s responsibility to respond, but also its stakeholders and their home country financial regulators. In a connected international financial system, we are only as strong as our weakest link,” the senators wrote.

They wrote that as part of an interconnected global economy, all nations have a responsibility to ensure financial cybersecurity that will safeguard the integrity of the international financial system and promote collaboration.

The president left for the summit on Wednesday with a stopover in Hawaii beforehand.

In a press briefing on Monday, Deputy NSA for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes said that at the summit, “three big pieces of the presidency are going to be front and center here through climate change, the global economy, and the Asia Pacific region.”

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Jessie Bur
Jessie Bur
Jessie Bur is a Staff Reporter for MeriTalk covering Cybersecurity, FedRAMP, GSA, Congress, Treasury, DOJ, NIST and Cloud Computing.