I am concerned with America’s ability to counter cyber attacks on the power grid and other critical infrastructure. These sectors are critical to the function of our daily lives and safety: communications, dams, energy, emergency services, food and agriculture, financial services, healthcare, water, transportation, nuclear reactors, among others.
For example, China, Iran, and North Korea have targeted critical infrastructure, as well as captured wartime contingency plans and secrets on weapon systems. In 2015, China collected personal data on 21.5 million federal employees and their families from the federal Office of Personnel Management. Stealing this information not only allows these adversaries to fend off U.S. counterattacks more effectively, but also to blackmail millions of Americans for sensitive (and competitive) information.
Electricity and other power plants are particularly vulnerable because they often use legacy operating systems. Their security is no match for today’s more sophisticated computer-based attacks. Imagine the disruption from a widespread power failure on the Eastern seaboard of the United States?
The United States has no peer competitor in the world when it comes to military power. But in the area of cybersecurity, we have peer competitors that seek to harm us by disrupting our critical infrastructure, damaging our economy, and harming U.S. citizens. With decades of experience in the technology sector, I believe the U.S. needs a more coherent cybersecurity defense posture. We must do more to protect our country from foreign cyber attacks.
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