Jun 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Schiff says U.S. should go "on offense" against cyberattacks

Adam Schiff
Adam Schiff. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday that the United States should "go more on offense" to prevent cyberattacks.

Why it matters: Cyber security is in the spotlight after the recent ransomware attack on America's Colonial Pipeline by Russia-based cybercrime group Darkside.

  • Cyber attacks were also a significant point of focus during this year's G7 as well as President Biden's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • Fiona Hill, the former National Security Council official for Russian and European affairs under President Trump, said on Sunday that it will be critical to see whether the Biden-Putin summit results in "serious cyber talks," Politico reports.

The big picture: Schiff said that while U.S. intelligence on cyberattacks is good, "it's not predictive." He also added that many hacking groups have a "synergistic" relationship with their governments.

  • "We do have to go more on offense. And I think that means that when we identify cyber groups that are working in conjunction with foreign states, that we treat them as an arm of the state and that we use our cyber capability to destroy or disrupt the infrastructure they're using to raid whatever funds they're accumulating from these attacks," Schiff said.
  • "We need to develop an international rule of the road where if a nation doesn't take action against cyber groups operating on its soil, we hold that nation responsible, which means we sanction that nation, which means we use that nation's resources to indemnify against any losses," he added.

Schiff also voiced skepticism about Putin's denial that Russia was behind cyberattacks against U.S. interests.

  • He said it wasn't credible for Putin to "suggest that even if he knew they were operating on his soil, that he was powerless to do something about it."
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