The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee predicted cyberattacks like the one that hit Sony will be the "warfare of the future."
Rep. Dutch RuppersbergerCharles (Dutch) Albert RuppersbergerHouse lawmakers roll out bill to invest 0 million in state and local cybersecurity House approves cyber funds in relief package as officials press for more Maryland lawmakers ask Biden to honor Capital Gazette shooting victims with Presidential Medal of Freedom MORE (D-Md.) called the attack on Sony, which the FBI has traced back to the North Korean government, one of the first "destructive" hacks.
"Not stealing, but this is destructive attack," he said on CNN's "New Day." "And just think what could happen down the future if North Korea wanted to knock out a grid system, an energy system, knock out air traffic control."
Ruppersberger and outgoing Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) have been working on cybersecurity issues for years.
Aside from weapons of mass destruction, he called cyberattack one of the "most serious" threats facing the country.
"The public needs to understand that these cyberattacks are going to be warfare of the future and we have to do whatever we can, working with our intelligence community and our military, to protect us from these attacks and work with our allies to protect them also," he said.
President Obama characterized the Sony breach as an "act of cyber vandalism" rather than an act of war, during an interview that aired Sunday.
Ruppersberger is pushing legislation to increase information sharing about cyberattacks between the private sector and the government. Congress passed a series of smaller bills late this year, but the broader information-sharing proposal was not one of them.
He declined to say whether the proposal would have helped in the Sony hack.
"It depends on individual cases, but in most situations the [intelligence community] can see these attacks that are coming and work with them to stop them, and that's what we have to do," he said.