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Wall Street gets the examiner's eye

Friday, 7 Feb 2014 | 12:37 PM ET

Wall Street's Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is looking at the measures that brokerages are taking to protect their businesses and customers against cybersecurity threats, the industry-funded regulator said.

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

FINRA, which conducts periodic "sweeps,'' or targeted checks on Wall Street brokerages, is conducting the review, in part, because of the growing threat to information technology systems from "a variety of sources,'' it wrote in a letter on its website late Monday.

Those threats also pose a risk to the U.S. financial system, FINRA wrote.

(Read more: Target speeding up smart card technology)

Cyber attacks have hit millions of customers of well-known retailers including Target and Neiman Marcus.

Retailers need state of the art security: A.G. Madigan
Large companies storing large amounts of data are constantly under attack, says Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, discussing Target's data breach and data security. CNBC's Jon Fortt provides insight.

Last week, Target revealed that the theft of credentials from an undisclosed vendor helped the attackers gain access to about 40 million credit and debit card records and another 70 million customer accounts.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission officials said on Jan. 30 that the agency plans to scrutinize whether asset managers have policies in place to prevent and detect cyberattacks and are properly safeguarding against security risks posed by vendors having access to their systems.

FINRA's letter included requests for information about their plans to keep business running in case of a cyberattack, insurance coverage for problems related to cyber security, and details about the impact of cyberattacks on the firms during the past year. The regulator also wants details about firms' relationships with outside vendors.

FINRA plans to report back to the industry about its findings.

(Read more: Snapchat rival hopes to pounce on security breach)

It is unclear how many firms FINRA will review during the process. A spokeswoman was not immediately able to comment.

—By Reuters

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  • Matt Hunter is the senior technology editor at CNBC.com.

  • Cadie Thompson is a tech reporter for the Enterprise Team for CNBC.com.

  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.

  • Jon Fortt is an on-air editor. He covers the companies, start-ups, and trends that are driving innovation in the industry.

  • Lipton is CNBC's technology correspondent, working from CNBC's Silicon Valley bureau.

  • Mark is CNBC's Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bureau Chief covering technology and digital media.