July 09, 2009

Gillibrand Responds to Cyber Attacks, Introduces New Legislation to Foster Global Response

Gillibrand’s Legislation Will Bring America, International Partners Together to Thwart Cyber Attacks

Washington, DC - In response to cyber attacks on American and South Korean government agencies and commercial Web sites over the past week, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will introduce the Fostering a Global Response to Cyber Attacks Act - legislation that will ensure America works with the governments of foreign countries to foster a global response to cyber attacks.

"Attacks potentially launched from within North Korea, Russia, China, and other countries have grown more sophisticated, more targeted, and more serious over the past year and will only grow more dangerous in time," Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said.  "In the coming days, I will be introducing new legislation to ensure that America works with the governments of foreign countries to foster a global response to these cyber attacks."

Relevant international cyber security agreements focus only on issues relating to cyber crime and common operating standards and have not been signed by certain countries from which cyber attacks may be launched.

That's why Senator Gillibrand is introducing a new, innovative legislative approach to stem the threat of a global cyber attack. As the technology to launch a far-reaching cyber attack becomes more sophisticated and more dangerous, Senator Gillibrand's new legislation will bring the U.S. together with its allies in the international community to harness the strength of their partnerships, and create the right defenses to protect Americans and the citizens of all nations from cyber attacks.

The Fostering a Global Response to Cyber Attacks Act will require the State Department to work with foreign governments to:

  • Encourage international cooperation in improving cyber security on a global basis;
  • Push for a set of international agreements and law enforcement cooperation to stop cyber attacks and cyber crime; and
  • Develop appropriate safeguards for the protection of privacy, freedom of speech, and commercial transactions to be included in any agreements or other activities designed to safeguard cyberspace.

The legislation will mandate that no later than 270 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives a report describing any actions taken by the U.S. to work with the governments of foreign countries to improve cyber security.

For more than a decade, reports have described the increasing vulnerability of the U.S. to cyber attacks, including a recent leading policy report that stated cyber attacks have joined terrorism and weapons of mass destruction as one of the new, asymmetric threats that put the U.S. and its allies at risk.

Numerous cyber attacks against U.S. intelligence and military targets have resulting in the Department of Defense spending more than $100 million in the first six months of 2009 to repair damage to networks caused by cyber attacks - which cost the U.S. billions of dollars annually.

A growing array of state and non-state actors, such as terrorists and international criminal groups are targeting U.S. citizens, commerce, and the information infrastructure of America, including the Internet, telecommunications networks, computer systems, embedded processors and controllers in critical industries to steal, exploit, disrupt or destroy information.

Cyber exploitation activity has grown more sophisticated, more targeted, and more serious over the past year and is expected to increase as advances in technology continue to increasingly underpin the society of the United States.