facebook linkedin twitter

Warner Contemplates Mandatory Cyberattack Reporting Bill

June 16, 2021 by Kate Michael
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) speaking at The Open Markets Institute's conference in Washington, D.C., on October 11, 2018. (Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA/TNS)

WASHINGTON — The rise in profit-driven cyberattacks has prompted Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., to contemplate a mandatory reporting bill so law enforcement can promptly take action on urgent threats.

Warner told Axios recently that he anticipates broad support for such upcoming legislation in light of recent events and since “our cyber vulnerabilities are now being felt by everyday Americans.”

“The Biden administration has moved aggressively, but they can only do a certain amount of things. Congress needs to act,” he said. 

The government has long been concerned about cyberattacks, like those on the Colonial Pipeline, Solar Winds, and on meat supplier JBS. But Warner suggests that now may be the time to take action since the pervasiveness of ransomware — and strikes increasing in number and scope — is starting to impact things consumers can feel.

“As these ransomware attacks’ ramp-up in volume and seriousness, it’s hitting home finally,” he said. And while people may have read about information being stolen in the past, when it impacts them directly, like with higher prices and supply chain delays, “it gets more personal.”

Warner has proposed to put forward a bill to require mandatory reporting of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure companies, federal contractors, and government agencies. 

“When we had this debate six or seven years ago, the business community did not want any additional mandatory reporting,” Warner said. “I think they now realize that they themselves are put in jeopardy if we don’t have mandatory reporting.” 

The bill could include limited immunity for businesses and methods to keep information confidential between the government and its private sector partners. 

Warner believes that mandatory reporting, both of cyber attacks and ransomware payments, could help law enforcement to take faster and better action when vulnerabilities are leveraged. 

“We’ve got to know mid-attack,” he said. “And we’ve got to set a level of international norms. This is not just a tax against American companies, the whole Irish healthcare system was shut down recently [by an attack]. 

“We need to make clear that if entities in [Russia and China] are attacking our critical  infrastructure they will pay the penalty.”

Warner said he fears that cyber threats are transitioning from simply stealing information to potentially “extraordinary destructive actions.” If instead of merely exfiltrating information, cybercriminals move to shut down systems and cripple economies, “that, to me, would be close to an act of war,” Warner said, “and we need to up our game.”

According to Warner, it won’t solve the whole problem, but “we will have a strong bipartisan incident report legislation out within the next couple of weeks.” 

In The News

Health

Voting

Cybersecurity

July 29, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
Government Tries to Play Catch-Up Against Fast-Moving Cyberattacks

WASHINGTON -- Congress took a stab Thursday at improving the nation’s cybersecurity as the federal government mobilizes more resources against... Read More

WASHINGTON -- Congress took a stab Thursday at improving the nation’s cybersecurity as the federal government mobilizes more resources against ransomware and hackers. Both President Joe Biden and members of a House Homeland Security subcommittee described threats to U.S. computer systems as a potentially devastating economic... Read More

Turn Off, Turn On: Simple Step Can Thwart Top Phone Hackers

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — As a member of the secretive Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Angus King has reason to worry... Read More

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — As a member of the secretive Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Angus King has reason to worry about hackers. At a briefing by security staff this year, he said he got some advice on how to help keep his cellphone secure. Step One:... Read More

July 20, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
Government Takes Helm on Cybersecurity As Ransomware and Spying Threats Grow

WASHINGTON -- As the international blame game over ransomware heats up this week, the U.S. government is scrambling for solutions... Read More

WASHINGTON -- As the international blame game over ransomware heats up this week, the U.S. government is scrambling for solutions with increasingly combative strategies. Legislation that won tentative approval in Congress on Monday anticipates a bigger role for the U.S. government in overseeing cybersecurity of critical... Read More

China Rejects Hacking Charges, Accuses US of Cyberspying

BEIJING (AP) — China on Tuesday rejected an accusation by Washington and its Western allies that Beijing is to blame... Read More

BEIJING (AP) — China on Tuesday rejected an accusation by Washington and its Western allies that Beijing is to blame for a hack of the Microsoft Exchange email system and complained Chinese entities are victims of damaging U.S. cyberattacks. A foreign ministry spokesman demanded Washington drop... Read More

July 19, 2021
by Kate Michael
Threats of Cyberattack Loom as Space Assets Not ‘Critical Infrastructure’

WASHINGTON — Despite our reliance on space technology for things like communication, transportation, food, and health care — not to... Read More

WASHINGTON — Despite our reliance on space technology for things like communication, transportation, food, and health care — not to mention national security — our national space assets aren’t officially designated as critical infrastructure. Humanity is already dependent on space, but neglecting to protect space technology... Read More

July 19, 2021
by Dan McCue
US, Allies Accuse China of Backing Cyber Attacks Worldwide

The United States, NATO and several allies collectively called out China on Monday for a series of malicious cyber- and... Read More

The United States, NATO and several allies collectively called out China on Monday for a series of malicious cyber- and ransomware attacks, including a March attack that exploited a flaw in Microsoft's Exchange Server. Monday’s announcement, which followed a conference call with White House reporters Sunday... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top