July 20, 2012
In a Thursday Wall Street Journal Opinion piece, President Barack Obama evoked images of mass disaster should a cyber attack wreak havoc on the nation’s transportation and water systems.
Fear of a deadly cyber-attack by a state or terrorist group loom heavy over the heads of lawmaker, as well as current and former high-ranking national security officials. Obama’s piece echoed a consistent theme: The nation’s cyberdefenses are vulnerable to major attack from states and terrorists, and federal legislation must be passed that would require companies that are part of the nation’s critical infrastructure to abide by federal safety standards.
If the alleged leaks about the U.S. cyberwarfare program are true, then the U.S. has already demonstrated that such capabilities are within reach. The famed STUXNET virus, which caused centrifuges used for enriching uranium at a secret Iranian nuclear facility to malfunction, was targeting Iranian progress towards developing a nuclear weapon.
The president threw his weight behind the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, which is sponsored by Independent Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman and Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins, and favored by Democratic Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid.
After it was introduced in February, the bill was opposed by Senate Republicans and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for giving the Department of Homeland Security the ability to assess and set the security standards for power companies, utilities and other companies considered part of the nation’s critical infrastructure.
This article was posted: Friday, July 20, 2012 at 2:22 am