Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Karen Gibson, Senate sergeant-at-arms, speaking during a Senate subcommittee hearing during April 2021. Photo: Greg Nash/The Hill/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Karen Gibson told CNN she fears a cyber attack against Congress more than violence at the Capitol similar to the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Why it matters: Gibson said Friday that hackers attempt intrusions into Congress' computer networks "every single day" and that a state-backed cyber unit could cripple the government's ability to function by compromising communications networks.

Context: Gibson replaced the previous Senate sergeant-at-arms, Michael Stenger, after he resigned in the wake of the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol.

What they're saying: "I worry a lot more about cybersecurity than I do about another mob attacking the Capitol. Certainly our networks are, have attempted intrusions every single day," Gibson said.

  • "And so cyber security for me is a much greater concern than the prospect of thousands of people storming the West Terrace," she added.
  • "I've often thought of that as sort of the soft underbelly of America — the critical infrastructure that's in private sector hands, and may or may not be secured to the extent that we needed to be, as we saw, perhaps, with the Colonial Pipeline ransomware incident."
  • "There are many opportunities for those who wish us harm to do so, in a cyber domain. It's certainly going to keep the cybersecurity staff very busy for the foreseeable future."
  • "But I would worry about, I think, nation-state actors or others who might try to just really cripple the government's ability to function by locking down cyber communications network."

The big picture: Multiple federal agencies were breached during the massive SolarWinds attack by Russian-backed hackers that became public in December 2020. The full extent of that attack is still unknown.

  • Numerous U.S. businesses have been targets of cyber attacks this year, including two major ransomware attacks in the last month.
  • FBI Director Christopher Wray compared malware attacks against the government and businesses to the challenges posed by the Sept. 11 attacks in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
  • The Biden administration has urged businesses to take "immediate steps" to increase their ransomware defenses, while the Department of Justice is now treating ransomware attacks with a similar priority as terrorism cases.

Go deeper

FBI Director Wray compares ransomware threat to 9/11

FBI Director Christopher Wray speaking during a House committee hearing in April 2021. Photo: Al Drago-Pool/Getty Images

FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Wall Street Journal in an interview that the bureau is currently investigating around 100 different types of ransomware that have been used to targeted between a dozen and 100 organizations.

Driving the news: Wray said the malware attacks were similar to the challenges posed by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and he called on Russia's government to do more to crack down on cyber criminal groups based in the country.

DOJ to treat ransomware attacks with similar priority as terrorism

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland during a Senate committee hearing in May 2021. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Department of Justice is planning to coordinate its ransomware attack investigations with similar protocols it uses for terrorism cases, according to internal guidance sent to U.S. attorney’s offices reviewed by Reuters.

Why it matters: The new guidance comes in the wake of at least two significant ransomware attacks against major U.S. businesses in roughly a month and as the Biden administration attempts to devise ways to thwart future attacks.

6 mins ago - World

Putin denies Russia is behind cyberattacks ahead of Biden summit

In an exclusive interview with NBC's "Today," Russian President Vladimir Putin denied that Russia is waging cyber warfare against the United States and refused to guarantee opposition leader Alexei Navalny — whose name he would not say — will leave prison alive.

Why it matters: Cyberattacks by Russian intelligence and Russian-speaking criminal groups, as well as the Kremlin's attempted assassination and jailing of Navalny, are among the topics President Biden is expected to raise at his Geneva summit with Putin on Wednesday.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!