Lawmakers ask whether massive hack amounted to act of war
Lawmakers are raising questions about whether the attack on the federal government widely attributed to Russia constitutes an act of war.
The hacking may represent the biggest cyberattack in U.S history, and officials are scrambling to respond.
The response is further complicated by the presidential transition — President Trump has yet to comment publicly on the attack — and the fact that the U.S. has no clear cyber warfare strategy.
“We can’t be buddies with Vladimir Putin and have him at the same time making this kind of cyberattack on America,” Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said of the attack during an interview Wednesday on CNN. “This is virtually a declaration of war by Russia on the United States and we should take that seriously.”
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Thursday compared the incident to Russian bombers “flying undetected over the entire country,” and harshly criticized Trump for not doing enough to counter the attack.
“Our national security is extraordinarily vulnerable,” Romney said on SiriusXM’s “The Big Picture with Olivier Knox.” “In this setting, not to have the White House aggressively speaking out and protesting and taking punitive action is really, really quite extraordinary.”
Hackers believed to be part of a nation state have had access to federal networks since March after exploiting a vulnerability in updates to IT group SolarWinds’s Orion software. The hack has compromised the Treasury, State and Homeland Security departments and branches of the Pentagon, though it is expected to get worse. SolarWinds counts many more federal agencies as customers, along with the majority of U.S. Fortune 500 companies.