US Cybersecurity Needs To Be Addressed ASAP, Witnesses Urge Senate

Technology > Security

The U.S.'s weak cybersecurity has made the country prone to more cyber attcks from hacking groups supported by the country's enemies, and this has to be addressed urgently, according to testimonies by two witnesses in the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommitee hearing last Tuesday, June 13.

According to the testimonies, a large-scale cyberattack could happen any time unless the U.S. intensifies its efforts to protect itself and deflect offensives from countries with known aggressive hackers like Russia, China, and North Korea. The testimonies are agreed upon by lawmakers.

Eric Rosenbach, former chief of staff to former Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, told lawmakers that an imminent massive attack against the country by North Korea “is likely to happen within the next year, if current trends continue.”

Meanwhile, Samantha Ravich, former adviser on national security during George W. Bush's administration, described China’s cyberoffensive strategy as “a form of nonmilitary warfare, which is just as terribly destructive as a bloody war, but in which no blood is actually shed.”

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), the panel’s chairman, said that updating the six-and-a-half-year old U.S. cybersecurity system is crucial, describing the current system as a "fossil".

On the other hand, Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-MA) expressed his concern with weak security, particularly in utility companies that power the American electrical grid. He further cited Russia’s 2015 cyberattack on the Ukrainian power grid that left 235,000 people without electricity which could happen if American utility companies don’t invest in stronger firewall protections.

Rosenbach suggested making the "National Safety Council (NSC) framework mandatory for critical infrastructure, in the energy sector particularly".

U.S. should also formulate an integrated strategy to deter potential cyberoffensives by Russia, China, and North Korea -- a critical component in which the U.S. has failed, according to witnesses.

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