It's likely that China's government compromised computers at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) over a three-year period starting in 2010 and that employees at the banking regulator hid the hacking, according to an interim congressional report released on Wednesday.
The report from the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology for the first time cites an internal FDIC investigation as pointing to China being behind the hacking of FDIC computers, which was initially reported in May.
Created by Congress, the FDIC insures bank deposits and examines financial institutions for soundness.
The congressional staff report accuses the FDIC of attempting to hide the security breaches as a means of not derailing congressional approval of Martin Gruenberg as agency chairman. The U.S. Senate confirmed Gruenberg in November 2012.
Officials presently at the FDIC have deliberately hidden information about hacks that Congress had requested, the report said.
"The committee's interim report sheds light on the FDIC's lax cybersecurity efforts," Texas Republican Lamar Smith said in a statement. "The FDIC's intent to evade congressional oversight is a serious offense."
The FDIC did not return requests for comment.
The report's release comes one day before Gruenberg is scheduled to testify before the House committee on the FDIC's cybersecurity practices.
"Americans should be able to trust the agency with their sensitive banking information," Smith, chair of the House panel said. "The committee looks forward to hearing explanations from the FDIC chairman tomorrow and what changes he plans to make."