Cyber Securityby Senator Angus S. King, Jr.
Posted on 2015-02-05
KING. Mr. President, there are two items I want to touch on
today. One is bad news and the other is good news. This week we learned
there was a data breach of 80 million people's records--300,000 in
Maine--at Anthem. Fortunately the data breach did not include credit
card numbers, but it did include Social Security numbers. This news
comes about a month after Sony.
What is it going to take for this body, for this Congress, for this city, to act to protect us against these threats? We keep getting warning shots, and we keep ignoring them.
I am going to have to go home this weekend, and 300,000 people in Maine are going to say: What have you done to keep this from happening? Am I really going to be able to say: Well, it is complicated; we have four committees of jurisdiction and it is very difficult for us to make these decisions and it takes some time? That is not good enough.
The intelligence committee reported out a bill last July. We had a bill on the floor here in the fall. It is time for us to act. We keep getting warned, and we keep not doing anything.
I can't justify it. There is no excuse for us not taking steps-- concrete steps--to protect this country against cyber attacks. They keep happening.
My regional representatives in Maine have surveyed both small businesses and health care facilities, and all of them either have been attacked or are concerned about attacks. Whether it is from a foreign country or whether it is from garden-variety criminals, the point is this is a major threat facing this country, and it is one we have within our power--we can't control it, but we can at least work together to try to prevent it and to minimize the damage. It is beyond time--way beyond time--for us to take action on this subject.
I hope my colleagues on all the relevant committees can come together in the next several months--before the summer--to take action to deal with this problem. There is no excuse, particularly given the continuous warnings we are having, for not dealing with the issue of the cyber threat to this country.
This week it is Anthem. A few weeks ago it was Sony. What is going to happen when it is the gas pipeline system, when it is the financial system, when it is the New York Stock Exchange, when people's bank accounts disappear overnight? It is time for us to act, and it is time for us to act promptly.