Mark Warner, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, D-Va., On Wednesday called for legislation requiring private companies to report cyberattacks following the ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline, which has led to gas shortages and raised concerns in several states rising fuel prices.
“We don’t have an up-to-date system, whether it’s Colonial Pipeline or SolarWinds or any other company. This information actually needs to be reported to the government in real time so that we can get a comprehensive response,” the Virginia Democrat said on CNBCs ” Squawk Box “.
The Colonial Pipeline, which supplies about half of the gasoline on the east coast, ceased operations Friday, saying it was the victim of a ransomware attack. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has stated that the hacking group DarkSide is responsible for this.
Warner said the mandatory reporting of hacks could be modeled on the National Transportation Safety Board and early warning systems in place in the financial sector. He said the information the companies provide is confidential and has limited liability.
“We’ve been dealing with cyber for a long, long, long time, unfortunately,” said Warner, former tech investor and governor of Virginia.
Warner previously said his committee was working with White House national security advisers on laws that would require mandatory reporting of cyber threats.
The number of companies regularly hit by ransomware attacks quietly paying Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies would shock most business people in my opinion.
Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee
“The number of companies regularly hit by ransomware attacks quietly paying Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies would shock most business people,” he added.
In addition to the reporting requirement, Warner supports the creation of a quick response team made up of technology experts from the public and private sectors. He said the team will include the FBI, the cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency, and firms like Amazon and Microsoft.
“We need a real-time response team. And unfortunately we don’t have that right now. Cyber is always a boring thing until it gets home,” said Warner.
Virginia is one of at least 17 states that have declared a state of emergency along with the District of Columbia due to the pipeline hack. The pipeline company has announced that it will restore operations by the end of the week.
Warner responded to comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” last month, citing cybersecurity as the greatest threat to the financial system. Warner said cyber issues were one of his “top 3” concerns as head of the intelligence committee.
“My concern is this: We are seeing the effects of this ransomware attack on a pipeline. We saw the Russia-induced SolarWinds attack late last year that hit 18,000 companies. Fortunately, that was just spying where you were trying to get information.” to filter, “said Warner.
“Let’s imagine what would happen if we got together – if suddenly someone shut down 18,000 companies in our economy,” added Warner. “We’d come to a standstill.”
Continue reading: Spot gas shortages could worsen if the Colonial Pipeline doesn’t reopen by the weekend
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