U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee’s Resolve In Anti-CyberCrime Efforts
The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee held a hearing about U.S. cyber threats and risks last January 29 where intelligence agencies provided information about the evolving targets of cyber attacks, more particularly from Russia and China. This so-called cyber warfare is not new, but rather a continuing cyber attack between countries, espionage groups and companies worldwide, all without the common Joe and Jill knowing.
“We are now living in a new age – a time characterized by hybrid warfare and weaponized disinformation, all occurring within the context of a world producing more data than mankind has ever seen. Tomorrow, it’s going to be deep fakes, artificial intelligence, and a 5G-enabled internet of things with billions of Internet-connected consumer devices,” explained Republican Senator Richard Burr.
This has been confirmed by Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence, cyber espionage is an everyday thing and no longer fit the headlines. It is as common today than even five years ago, with the growth of more computing devices, most especially the mobile computing segment of the market. “Our adversaries and strategic competitors will increasingly use cyber capabilities – including cyber espionage, attack, and influence – to seek political, economic and military advantage over the United States and its allies and partners,” said Coats as he answered senators’ inquiries.
Coats also emphasized the reality on the ground, that North Korea, Russia, Iran, and China are building their A-teams of hackers and experts in cyber-espionage at an unprecedented rate. “At present, China and Russia pose the greatest espionage and cyberattack threats, but we anticipate that all our adversaries and strategic competitors will increasingly build and integrate cyber espionage, attack and influence capabilities into their efforts to influence US policies and advance their own national security interests,” added Coats.
The US government needs to be ready, and in order for that to happen, both houses of Congress must support the counter cyberterrorism and anti-espionage efforts of the federal and state intelligence agencies. This support not only includes verbal support but also funding, which is exactly the exclusive power of the legislature, the power of the purse.
“China remains the most active strategic competitor responsible for cyber espionage against the US Government, corporations, and allies. It is improving its cyber attack capabilities and altering information online, shaping Chinese views and potentially the views of US citizens. US adversaries and strategic competitors almost certainly will use online influence operations to try to weaken democratic institutions, undermine US alliances and partnerships and shape policy outcomes in the United States and elsewhere,” said Coats.
Cybersecurity challenges are expected to increase for the United States starting next year, 2020 to coincide with the Presidential Elections. “Our adversaries and strategic competitors probably already are looking to the 2020 US elections as an opportunity to advance their interests. More broadly, US adversaries and strategic competitors almost certainly will use online influence operations to try to weaken democratic institutions, undermine US alliances and partnerships, and shape policy outcomes in the United States and elsewhere. We expect our adversaries and strategic competitors to refine their capabilities and add new tactics as they learn from each other’s experiences, suggesting the threat landscape could look very different in 2020 and future elections,” concluded the intelligence agencies report.