U.S. getting cyber-robbed "every single day," Rogers says
(CBS News) Alleging attacks on the United States "every single day," Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., is set to introduce a cyber security bill "as early as this week," the House Intelligence Committee chairman said today on "Face the Nation."
"We're getting robbed every single day," Rogers said during a panel discussion on the country's growing cyber security threat. "We have, as the U.S. government, set up lawn chairs, told the burglars where the silver is - in the bottom drawer - and opened the case of beer and watched them do it."
Rogers said the scope of vulnerabilities spans "personal identities to social security numbers to money from banks to intellectual property - the blueprints for jobs in the next generation with nation states like China." Attackers, he continued, are looking at "shutting down our financial services or finding other ways to destroy material in companies that won't allow them to function on a day-to-day basis. ...We've seen that recently with Iran."
Along with ranking member Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., Rogers plans to re-introduce the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which before its passage in the House last spring the White House threated to veto over concerns about privacy protection. The bill proposes allowing the government to share classified information about cyber threats so companies can protect themselves from attacks.
"It's very simple: Share information," Rogers said. "Share cyber threat information. The senior leadership in the intelligence community said that they think we can stop 90 percent of our problems just by sharing classified cyber threat information." He estimated "95 percent of our networks here in the United States, private sector networks, are incredibly vulnerable."
Reviewing past attacks, CBS News correspondent Bob Orr said one "very big problem" for the United States is if nations like China "turn this pillaging of wealth into an attack against a key system. ...For example, a major manufacturer here lost some paint formulas, some schematics for military hardware have been stolen. I mean the Chinese are basically replicating these products about as fast as they can and we're not doing very much about it."
James Lewis, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), said there's a "whole range of things" a cyber terrorist could do. "If you just wanted fun, you could have all the traffic lights turn green at the same time here in Washington during rush-hour," he said.
Facing a spike in cyber hacking from Iran, in particular, along with Russia and China, the White House is likely to introduce an executive order before March that will try to tackle information sharing and protecting critical infrastructure, among other things, Lewis said. But former Rep. and House Intelligence Committee member Jane Harman, D-Calif., now head of the Woodrow Wilson Center, said an executive order "won't do enough," and urged Congress to move on legislation.
"It's not that the government is sleeping through this, exactly - it's that the government has so far proved incapable of protecting all of us," she said. "I think we're much more vulnerable to a catastrophic cyber-attack than to a catastrophic terror attack in the homeland. We've done a better job of decapitating al Qaeda, even though its metastasized around the world, it's not capable I don't think anymore of mounting the kind of attack we saw on 9/11. But in the cyber business...Congress has not acted."
Lindsey Boerma is senior video producer for CBSNews.com.Follow on Twitter »
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