The head of the National Security Agency warned Congress on Thursday that cyberattacks “are coming” and that American is not ready for them.
“Those attacks are coming, and I think those are near-term and we’re not ready for them. The nation needs an agency like NSA with its technical capabilities to help ensure that we can evolve to that future space to where we need to be,” Gen. Keith Alexander told the Senate Armed Services Committee, according to the Hill. “I think we have to get on with cyber legislation.”
Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, agreed.
“We’ve been kicking around this legislation, cybersecurity legislation, now for several years,” McCain said.
The cybersecurity debate takes place in the wake of an Iranian attack on the Navy’s largest unclassified computer network that compromised 800,000 users at 2,500 locations. It took Adm. Michael Rogers, President Obama’s choice to succeed Gen. Alexander, four months to deal with the attack, which was deemed a “significant penetration” into the “bloodstream” of the Navy’s system by an official who spoke on condition of anonymity to the Wall Street Journal.
“If we have an attack in two or three months from now and we haven’t done anything, we’re going to look pretty dumb around here,” Sen. Angus King, Maine independent, said Thursday, the Hill reported. “I think the next Pearl Harbor is going to be cyber and I certainly hope that we’re going to be prepared, better prepared than we were in 1941.”
Congress attempted to pass a cybersecurity bill in 2012 but was unsuccessful.