RI Dem: Cyberattacks against US a ‘real threat’

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Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) on Sunday called the risk of terrorists launching cyberattacks against critical U.S. infrastructure “a real threat.”

“Right now, these … worst weapons and cyber weapons are in the hands of nation states who have the capability but not necessarily the will to use them,” Langevin, a member of the Armed Services Committee, said on ABC’s “This Week.” “But then you have groups like ISIL or al Qaeda, that certainly would have the intent, but not the weapons.

“And that — that gap, that divide, if you will, seems to be becoming much more narrow and eventually the worst actors will have the worst weapons and they potentially will use them against us,” he added

Langevin said he’s been trying to “raise the alarm” and try to close an “aperture of vulnerability” since he chaired the Homeland Security subcommittee on cybersecurity.

“We did a deep dive on this, looking at how vulnerable critical infrastructure is, in particular, how vulnerable our electric grid is. And we found that it’s very vulnerable.”

Langevin said a study by Idaho National Labs showed that an attack could cause a number of generators “to blow themselves up.”

“And you could see a whole sector of the country without electricity for a period of not just days or weeks, but potentially months, because these generators are — are large. They’re not just like batteries that are sitting on a shelf that you can, you know, take one out and plug another one in.

“These generators take months to build, ship and install,” he added.

Langevin called on the Congress to pass an information-sharing bill.

“That bill passed and was unanimous out of the House Intelligence Committee, on which I sit. It passed the House with strong bipartisan support. And now we’re waiting for the Senate to take it up.”

“That would allow classified threat information to be passed to the private sector and for the private sector to pass the — the threats or the — the attacks that they’re experiencing back to the government so that information could be more widely shared.”

“This is not a problem … that we’re ever going to solve,” Langevin said. “It’s one that we need to manage.”

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