WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Many U.S. leaders believe Russian cyberattacks are imminent, and some say we as a country should be doing more to prepare for them.
The White House warned private companies this week that they need to strengthen their cyber defenses.
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., has long been sounding the alarm about Russian cyberattacks.
“As we see Putin more and more isolated and less successful on the battlefield, this possibility is real,” Warner said.
Included in the recent omnibus package was legislation from Warner mandating that critical infrastructure companies report cyberattacks to the U.S. government.
“We need that information, not only to go after the bad guys but, particularly, also to share it with other private sector partners,” Warner said.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., says lawmakers have done a lot of work on cyber security defense.
“To bring the firewalls up, not just in the government, but also in the private sector,” Capito said.
As sanctions against Russia ramp up, concerns about cyber risks are also growing, prompting some to call for more action.
Virginia Tech cybersecurity professor David Simpson says government regulatory agencies need to put rules in place to ensure companies are meeting cyber security standards and are able to get networks back up if they are hacked.
“You have to be rationalizing cyber risk reduction investments, alongside your other business investments,” Simpson said. “Breaches will happen, even in the face of the very best protections.”
Sen. Warner agrees that essential industries need cyber security guidelines.
“You’re only as strong as your weakest link. So I do think we need some legislative minimum cyber hygiene standards,” Warner said.
There may not be enough time for substantial improvements before Russia’s next cyberattacks. For now, Sen. Capito says we are staying vigilant.
“We have people who are watching this every second,” Capito said.