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Hickenlooper, Bennet Request Information on Efforts to Protect the United States from Russian Cyber Threats

Mar 15, 2022

After the U.S. Announced Trade and Energy Penalties on Russia and Approved $14 Billion in Aid for Ukraine, Senators Request Information from Homeland Security Secretary on Efforts to Protect Critical Infrastructure and Businesses from Retaliatory Russian Cyberattacks

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet joined U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen and Mike Rounds and several bipartisan colleagues in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas requesting information on efforts to protect the United States from Russian cyber and disinformation threats. The letter references past Russian cyber operations – such the SolarWinds breach – as evidence of their history of engaging in malicious cyber activities that target the United States. 

“The Russian government often engages in malicious cyber activities, including espionage, intellectual property theft, disinformation, propaganda, and cyberattacks, that target the United States. In response, the United States government has imposed sanctions on Russian security personnel and agents for various cyberattacks, including the SolarWinds cyber espionage campaign, and for acts of disinformation and interference, including Russian government-directed attempts to influence U.S. elections,” wrote Hickenlooper, Bennet, and the senators.

“Given Russia’s history of disruptive cyber and disinformation activities, we are concerned that the United States may be targeted in retaliation for actions taken to impose costs on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine,”  continued Hickenlooper, Bennet, and their colleagues. “As we stand with the Ukrainian people, impose crushing sanctions on Vladimir Putin’s regime, and push for additional security assistance to help Ukraine defend itself, we also must work to secure the homeland from retaliatory cyber activities.”

Last week, Congress passed a $1.5 trillion spending bill that included part of the Strengthening American Cybersecurity Act of 2022, co-sponsored by Hickenlooper and Bennet and passed by the Senate on March 1. This would require critical infrastructure owners and operators to report to the Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) within 72 hours if they are experiencing a substantial cyber-attack, and within 24 hours if they make a ransomware payment. 

In addition to Hickenlooper, Bennet, Rosen, and Rounds, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal, Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown, Mike Braun, Shelley Capito, Bob Casey, Susan Collins, Catherine Cortez Masto, Tammy Duckworth, Dianne Feinstein, Mark Kelly, Angus King, Joseph Manchin, Alex Padilla, Jeanne Shaheen, Chris Van Hollen, Raphael Warnock, and Kirsten Gillibrand. 

The text of the letter is available HERE.


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