The U.S. is vulnerable to cyber attacks that could shut down financial services or destroy information that companies need for daily operations, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Sunday.
Rep. Mike Rogers says 95 percent of private sector networks are vulnerable, and most have already been hit.
Cyber thefts have included personal identities, Social Security numbers, money from banks and blueprints for next-generation jobs. At risk are private companies and public agencies. Some estimates put the value of information hacked at up to $400 billion a year. But many companies are reluctant to admit they’ve been attacked, so as to keep a competitive edge and avoid reactions from shareholders.
The Michigan Republican says hackers have stepped up attacks since the fall, and he points to China and Iran.
“They’re taking blueprints back; not just military documents, but civilian innovation that companies are going to use to create production lines to build things,” Rogers said. “They’re stealing that, repurposing it back in nations like China, and competing in the international market.”
Rogers told CBS that the U.S. government has, essentially “set up lawn chairs, told the burglars where the silver is … and opened the case of beer and watched them do it.”
A bipartisan bill to shore up the nation’s cyber defenses passed the House, but died in the Senate in the last Congress. Similar legislation could be introduced again as early as this week.
For Rogers, the fix is “very simple.”
“Share information about threats online,” he said. “The senior leadership in the intelligence community said that they think that we can stop 90 percent of our problems by just sharing classified cyber threat information.”