High-Profile Hacks Lead to New Interest in Cybersecurity Bill
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Recent high-profile cyberattacks have renewed congressional interest in passing a stalled cybersecurity bill supported by the U.S. Chamber and the business community, according to the chair of the House Intelligence Committee.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) pointed to recent security breaches by China and Iran and threats from Russia. “Now there are new levels of threats, with very real consequences. Because of that, there’s a rekindled interest in getting something done in the lame duck.”
Rogers, who spoke at the U.S. Chamber’s Cybersecurity Summit on October 4, introduced a bill last year that would allow the sharing of intelligence information between the government and the private sector to enable businesses to avoid potential attacks on their networks. The bill was passed in the House but stalled in the Senate.
Recently, however, there had been “at least revitalized discussions between the Senate and the House on the possibilities of moving forward in some fashion on the sharing portion during the lame duck with the possibility of coming back to the other portions of it thereafter,” Rogers said.
“I ask all of you to engage in the Senate. Don’t give up on this thing. It's too important,” Rogers told the room full of business leaders and cybersecurity experts.
Threats against online networks only continue to rise, and new examples of cyberattacks have recently emerged. The White House confirmed earlier in the week that China was behind a hack of U.S. government computers, including systems used by the military. Meanwhile, Iran has been accused of launching cyberattacks against U.S. financial institutions, including Bank of America and Chase.
The Chamber’s cybersecurity event took place just days after a congressional report on the Homeland Security Department suggested that the agency lacks the skills and resources to take a lead role in protecting the nation’s computer systems.
“We are in a war today in cyberspace. It is the biggest national security threat that I can think of that we’re not prepared to handle today,” Rogers said. “Our enemies know it, they’re investing in it, they’re making that change,” he said.
Rogers also slammed a move by the White House to craft an executive order on cybersecurity, pointing out that neither the private sector nor the committee was consulted on the language of the draft order. “I don’t get it, I don’t understand it, and I think it’s irresponsible,” he said. "They need to reach out a little bit so you can foster some discussion."