- ‘Welcome to the edge of freedom’: Biden’s boots touch down in DMZ
- Obama: Hole U.S. ‘digging out of’ requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Obama’s regulatory agenda will cost U.S. economy $143B next year: report
- Patriot Act author on James Clapper: Fire, prosecute him
- Russia P.M. Medvedev: No amnesty for political prisoners
- Michigan GOP Senate hopeful reminds government is the ‘servant’
- Christmas, by Congress: Members mull a 15-cent tax on trees
- U.S. unemployment falls to five-year low of 7 percent; 203K jobs added
- World mourns Nelson Mandela and celebrates his life; burial set for Dec. 15
- Bill O’Reilly reminds: Nelson Mandela ‘was a communist’
Experts urge stronger online regulation bill
WASHINGTON (AP) - Cybersecurity experts urged senators Thursday to close loopholes in legislation to give the government more power to force critical industries to make their computer networks more secure.
Experts told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said the bill could allow many companies to avoid regulation entirely or drag out the process for up to eight years before they would actually have to improve their computer security.
The legislation would limit the number of industries subject to regulation to those in which a cyberattack could cause “an extraordinary number of fatalities” or a “severe degradation” of national security.
“So an individual infrastructure owner, such as a rural electricity provider, has no responsibility under this title if it can show that an undefended cyberattack would only cause an ordinary number of fatalities?” said Stewart Baker, a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security who is now with the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson. “How many dead Americans is that, exactly?”
But they said the measure has been weakened by corporate and other interests arguing against any attempt at regulation.
By using “terms like mass casualties, mass evacuations, or effects similar to weapons of mass destruction, we are essentially writing target lists for our attackers,” said Lewis. “They will attack what we choose not to defend.”
The legislation is intended to ensure that computer systems running power plants and other essential parts of the country’s infrastructure are protected from hackers, terrorists or other criminals.
The Department of Homeland Security, with input from businesses, would select which companies to regulate, and the agency would have the power to require better computer security.
U.S. authorities are increasingly alarmed about the constant attacks that target U.S. government, corporate and personal computer networks and accounts. And they worry that cybercriminals will try to take over systems that control the inner workings of water, electrical, nuclear or other power plants.
The most glaring example of that was the Stuxnet computer worm, which targeted Iran’s nuclear program in 2010, infecting laptops at that nation’s Bushehr nuclear power plant.
Business groups argue that more regulation is not the answer and that any new mandates will drive up costs without really increasing security. And Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., voiced his opposition to the bill Thursday saying that several Republicans will introduce their own legislation that will call for more information sharing and cooperation with the private sector, rather than regulations.
He said the regulations in the committee’s bill “would stymie job-creation, blur the definition of private property rights and divert resources from actual cybersecurity to compliance with government mandates.”
Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn. and chairman of the Homeland Security panel, said the bill will better arm the country against enemies and terrorists who “who would use the Internet against us as surely as they turned airliners into guided missiles.”
And Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, the senior Republican on the committee, said the attacks threaten U.S. economic stability. One study, she said, estimated that global cybercrime costs as much as $388 billion annually.
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- 'Dude, I'm dreading that I will have to go': Czech prime minister on Mandela funeral
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- Obama: Hole U.S. 'digging out of' requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Rush Limbaugh: Obama trying to make Mandela death about himself
- Obama administration issues permits for wind farms to kill more eagles
- Colorado judge: Bakery owner discriminated against gay couple
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- Legalizing illegal immigrants is the solution to Obamacare: Democrat
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Get in the middle of all the action inside and outside the boxing ring.
Opinion, analysis, and musings on politics, pop culture, reinvention, and the resultant flotsam and jetsam floating around the right-of-center quadrant of the Left Coast.
The cold hard truth about politics in America today and the state of this once great nation.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
White House pets gone wild!