State officials ask for more cybersecurity help
Top federal and state officials pressed a Senate committee on Tuesday to provide more resources and authorities to fight cyberattacks, an issue of increasing concern in the wake of debilitating attacks on governments entities this past year.
Senior cybersecurity and tech leaders from Michigan and Texas noted during their testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that efforts to fight against cyberattacks have been hampered by a lack of federal resources, particularly from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
“We see the intent everyday of DHS trying to get everywhere across the state, particularly in the run-up to the elections, and I think it’s just a matter of they need more boots on the ground, and they need a specific state representative to get more familiar with that state,” Christopher DeRusha, the chief security officer within Michigan’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Office, told lawmakers.
Christopher Krebs, the director of DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), testified alongside the state officials, and agreed that Congress should boost federal support for states.
“We have to get more resources out in the field,” Krebs said. “I cannot be effective if I am sitting here in Washington, D.C., I need more dedicated state and local resources.”
Tuesday’s hearing follows months of escalating attacks against government entities across the nation, with most involving ransomware attacks, in which attackers lock down a system and demand payment to give the user access again.