U.S Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., said that when nation’s orchestrate cyberattacks on the U.S., there should be an automatic response with real consequences. Are you listening, Russia?
On Monday, Gardner, a Republican from Yuma, introduced the Cyber Deterrence and Response Act, which is co-sponsored by Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware. The legislation would impose sanctions on those complicit in cyber attacks against the United States.
“Our legislation will help provide additional tools for the administration to impose significant costs against malicious cyber actors, including state-sponsored actors, around the world that aim to endanger U.S national security and our economy,” Gardner said in a statement.
Coons added, “State-sponsored cyberattacks are a clear and persistent threat to United States. Rivals like Russia, China and Iran are enhancing their cyber capabilities and targeting our electoral process, financial system and critical infrastructure.”
The legislation still defers to the president, however. While the U.S. imposed sanctions in March, President Trump personally has been hesitant to take on or even criticize Russia for its meddling in the 2016 election, while a special counsel continues to investigate whether the Trump campaign worked with the Russians to hack the Democratic National Committee emails, attempt to sway the election via social media, and stage campaign events against Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Per Gardner’s bill, the president would retain the power to designate who is a “critical cyber threat actor.” The bill “provides an opportunity for the president to waive the imposition of sanctions … on a case-by-case basis.”
With a huge private sector presence in Colorado, Gardner has been a champion for cybersecurity.
Reuters reported this month that Gardner is working with Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana and Democratic Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia and Ron Wyden Oregon on legislation to require government vendors to provide equipment that’s more difficult to breach.
The legislation was drafted with help from technology experts at the Atlantic Council and Harvard University and is expected to lead the way in making non-governmental cyber equipment more secure.
“Security researchers have long said that the ballooning array of online devices including cars, household appliances, speakers and medical equipment are not adequately protected from hackers who might attempt to steal personal information or launch sophisticated cyber attacks.
“Between 20 billion and 30 billion devices are expected to be connected to the internet by 2020, researchers estimate, with a large percentage of them insecure.”