Feb 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

The big takeaway from the Senate's SolarWinds hearing

Picture of SolarWinds CEO Sudhakar Ramakrishna wearing a black mask
SolarWinds CEO Sudhakar Ramakrishna. Photo: DEMETRIUS FREEMAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

There was one key message from Tuesday's Senate Intelligence Committee hearing into the big SolarWinds hack: Too many are suffering being hacked in silence.

The big picture: Intelligence sharing on malicious actors is a key component of fighting the bad guys, with both Microsoft and FireEye calling for the government to consider mandatory disclosure of significant breaches.

What they're saying: "We will not solve this problem through silence," Microsoft president Brad Smith said in his prepared testimony. "It's imperative that we encourage and sometimes even require better information sharing, including by tech companies."

  • Smith's sentiment was echoed by FireEye CEO Kevin Mandia, whose company's breach led to the discovery of the broader SolarWinds attack.

Catch up quick: The SolarWinds attack, which allowed access into the computer systems of the federal government, Microsoft and other major players, is part of an escalating series of malicious attacks tied to Russia.

  • The attack showed how even entities that take extensive precautions are only as protected as the weakest piece of software they rely on.
  • And as devastating as that attack was, it may be part of something bigger, as Zach Dorfman of the Aspen Institute recently wrote for Axios Codebook.
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