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Cramer: House Passes Cybersecurity Legislation

Apr 23, 2015
Press Release
Protecting Your Privacy While Cracking Down on Cybercrime

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Cramer praised the series of bills the U.S. House of Representatives passed this week to counter the growing threat cybercrime poses to our personal privacy, economy and national security.  HR 1560 and HR 1731 willl facilitate greater information-sharing about cyber-threats between businesses and government while protecting civil liberties and  promoting best practices. These reforms are critical to protecting our national computer networks and ensuring America can meet the growing cyber challenges.

“Americans’ personal and financial information is under increasing risk. It's estimated that $445 billion per year is lost to cybercrime across the world.  As our reliance on information technology steadily grows, Congress needed to act to improve the security of our personal and financial information and ensure confidence.  These bills strike the right balance between protecting an individual’s civil liberties and providing network security personnel the information they need to protect their networks from future attacks,” said Cramer.

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Background on Cyber Security Issue:

Today, hardly a day goes by without news of a cyberattack on an American business or government agency. High-profile attacks are commonplace. Both in the boardroom and around the kitchen table, Americans suffer the impact of cyberattacks. Whether carried out by foreign governments or criminals, these attacks steal Americans' identities, credit card information, tax refunds, and countless other kinds of private information. In just the past year, attackers have shown they can adeptly carry out criminal activity, including theft and espionage, on computer networks inside the United States. These attacks violate Americans' privacy on a massive scale and cost thousands of American jobs.

Some cyberattacks are sponsored by foreign governments. China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran have created highly skilled cyber warfare units that directly target American businesses for their most valuable intellectual property. In May 2014, for instance, Federal prosecutors charged five military officers from Unit 61398 of the Third Department of the Chinese People's Liberation Army with computer hacking and economic espionage against the U.S. nuclear power, metals, and solar products industries. The sheer number of attacks against American companies—at least thousands each day—harms our economy and thus our national security.

Other attacks are carried out by criminal organizations. A recent Washington Post report suggested that more than 3,000 companies were alerted to cyberattacks by Federal agents in 2013. And that number represents only the number of cases in which the Federal government learned that an attack occurred. Companies must defend their networks around the clock on all fronts, but an attacker only needs to succeed once to cause tremendous damage. The ability to share cyber threat information and solutions will significantly help security officials throughout both the private sector and the government to defend their networks, and thereby defend Americans' most private information and most valuable intellectual property.

The Federal government already provides significant support and assistance to private companies to address cyberattacks. However, real and perceived legal barriers to cybersecurity monitoring and information sharing constrain companies with even the best of intentions. American businesses have sought positive legal authority to monitor their networks and to share and receive cyber threat indicators and defensive measures. Voluntary information sharing between companies helps businesses defend themselves against cyberattacks, and voluntary, two-way information sharing with the Federal government can help the government disseminate cyber threat information with greater speed and accuracy.