Senators inch forward on privacy legislation
Senators from both sides of the aisle sounded the alarm Wednesday on the dangers posed to small businesses and government entities by ransomware cyber attacks following a classified briefing from a key Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official.
The Senate Cybersecurity Caucus, led by Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), hosted the meeting with Christopher Krebs, director of DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), who briefed members on threats posed by ransomware attacks.
Ransomware attacks have been an increasing threat nationwide over the past year, according to experts. The attacks involve an individual or group gaining access to a system, encrypting it and then demanding money before unlocking it for the owner.
City governments including Baltimore and Atlanta have spent millions recovering their systems after ransomware attacks, while nearly two dozen small town governments in Texas were also the victims of a coordinated ransomware attack. State agencies in Louisiana have also been attacked, as well as school districts in several states in separate debilitating attacks.
Following the briefing Wednesday, Warner said in a statement that “the continued prevalence of ransomware should really capture our attention.”
“Ransomware and its destructive cousin wiperware are designed to inflict fear and uncertainty, disrupt vital services, and sow distrust in public institutions,” Warner said.