CBS19: Spanberger pushes for legislators to take action against hackers

CBS19, SARAH ROBINSON

Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger says that she wants legislators to work with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to prevent ransomware attacks in the future or there could be more.

“These threats are real and I do expect they will continue,” she said.

Spanberger is pushing for legislators to tackle the hacking issue head-on. Recently, the United States suffered two ransomware attacks at the hands of Russian criminals: the Colonial Pipeline and JBS Meat shutdowns impacted millions of Americans.

“Some organizations, private businesses or localities pay the ransom to control their network,” said Spanberger.

Joseph Blount, the CEO of the Colonial Pipeline, discussed his decision to pay $5 million to hackers during a Senate committee hearing.

“We wanted to stay focused on getting the pipeline back up and running. I believe with all my heart it was the right choice to make,” he said.

Despite the FBI recovering most of the money, some senators believe Blount made the wrong move.

“The FBI and other security agencies strongly discourage paying ransom because it incentivizes more people to become cybercriminals,” said Senator Maggie Hassan from New Hampshire.

Spanberger says it’s important anyone impacted by hackers reports the incident because the extent of the attacks is not fully known.

“We need to do more to strengthen our cyber infrastructure, particularly the federal government,” added Spanberger.

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