Washington, DC - In response to reports that Russian hackers penetrated portions of the White House computer network, U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, released the following statement:
"These reports are troubling and further expose that our nation’s defenses against cyber-attacks are dangerously inadequate.
“At present, there is bipartisan legislation that would take immediate steps to reduce the vulnerability of sensitive information systems in both the public and private sector. The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 would remove significant legal and economic disincentives that currently impede information sharing between private industry and government that can promote the identification and mitigation of cyber threats.
“Although today's power outages in the DC metro area were due to the failure of electrical equipment, the outages resulting from this one failure are nonetheless reminders that a single successful cyber-attack against certain critical infrastructure could cause catastrophic economic damage, loss of life, or the severe degradation of our national security or defense."
Senator Collins offered an amendment to the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 that would institute a tiered system of information sharing. Under her amendment, while the first tier of reporting would be voluntarily and used by 99% of businesses, the second tier would be mandatory and would apply to the subset of critical infrastructure where a cyber-attack would have catastrophic effects on economic or national security.
Senator Collins continued, "Cyber-attackers threaten both our national security and our economic well-being. We cannot afford to let important legislation languish as our nation sits woefully unprepared for these dangerous attacks."