I appreciate the April 22 editorial “Plugging cyberdefenses,” which endorsed proposals for sharing cyberthreat information between the government and the private sector. I completely agree.
However, robust information-sharing alone cannot meet our most significant national security needs. The greatest threat we face online is an attack on critical infrastructure. Our electric grid, water plants and other vital systems are connected to the Internet, and tools exist to cripple these networks with a keystroke. It’s only a matter of time before bad actors, such as al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations, acquire these tools.
Information-sharing cannot offer universal knowledge of cyberthreats to the owners and operators of these systems, so we must work to establish minimum security standards. Unfortunately, some industries and their special-interest groups would have you believe that access to more data alone will maximize their defensive capabilities. They put profits ahead of public safety by shirking security costs, knowing that taxpayers would foot the bill for any catastrophic incident.
Congress cannot allow this moment to pass without establishing effective protections for our critical infrastructure.
Jim Langevin, Washington
The writer, a Democrat, represents Rhode Island’s 2nd District in the House and serves as the ranking member of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities.