Cybersecurity bill scrutinized over terror concerns

A ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has expressed concern over a cybersecurity recommendation submitted by the Obama administration.

The controversial proposal mandates the publication of independent audits that rate how private companies protect critical infrastructure, including electricity grids and transportation networks. 

According to Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), the availability of such information could provide cyber criminals and terrorists with ample information to execute multiple digital attacks. 

“Aren’t you providing very valuable information not only to cyber criminals, but perhaps terrorist groups or nation-states that are constantly trying to probe our systems?” Collins asked during a recent hearing.

“I’m really [quite] surprised you want that to be public.”

But Philip Reitinger, undersecretary in the Department of Homeland Security’s National Protection and Programs Directorate, insisted the evaluation will be limited to high-level information and would not require “detailed” reporting.

“I don’t believe that on the level of reporting that we’re going to require going forward that we will increase the level of risk to those entities,” he claimed.

Collins, however, remained unconvinced, telling the hearing public audits would likely be exploited by China and Russia, both of whom would “redouble their efforts” to infiltrate U.S. infrastructure.

“I really hope you’ll take another look at that. I understand what you’re trying to do, but I also think you’re giving information to the enemy,” she added.

[Via Politico