A bipartisan pair of House lawmakers on Tuesday pushed for support in enhancing literacy when it comes to cybersecurity, expressing urgency on the matter before the U.S. experiences a “doomsday”-like attack.
As the expected incoming chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) said the issue would be a top focus in the next Congress when the GOP will have the majority.
“We need to do more education, have some hearings around what the growing threat around cyberattacks are,” Rodgers told The Hill’s Contributing Editor Steve Clemons at the Risk to Reliance event held at the Bipartisan Policy Center.
She said that such attacks are impacting a variety of different industries, increasing the need for dialogue with experts on the matter.
“I believe that it is important that we address it sector by sector where the experts, those who are on the front lines, have the opportunity to come in and tell us what they’re experiencing,” Rodgers said. “It is our future.”
Rep. Jim Himes (R-Conn.), meanwhile, echoed similar sentiments, saying that conversations around certain issues surrounding cybersecurity would have elicited intense reactions when he entered Congress over a decade ago.
“I came to Congress in ‘09 when the word ‘cyber’ would elicit the same confusion that crypto asset token elicits today,” Himes said.
Himes said he believes it will take another ransomware attack such as the one that hit the largest fuel pipeline in the country, Colonial Pipelines last summer, to cement the need for increased understanding on this issue in Congress.
“Sadly, it’s going to take another Colonial Pipelines or worse to create the urgency which will solve the literacy problem,” Himes said.
Himes said that the United States did not learn enough from the attacks, as it is essential that officials further prepare and educate themselves on potential “doomsday” attacks.
“We don’t, on average, have 150 IQs, we are representative of the people. My point is, we’re not experts, right,” he said.