WASHINGTON – Upon the administration’s move today to formally name Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service as the perpetrator of the SolarWinds breach, U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) reiterated the need to take a hard line against Russia’s malign cyber activity.
“Identifying Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service as the actor behind the SolarWinds hack is a half-step,” said Risch. “Once we identify the vulnerabilities that allowed this hack to occur, we need to develop a comprehensive cyber strategy that keeps the U.S. ahead of its adversaries. At the same time, there must be consequences for Russia and other state actors that seek to do us harm.”
At Wednesday’s Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats, Risch underscored the growing trend of foreign adversaries – like Russia – engaging in harmful cyber activities.
“Over the years, the cyberthreat was mainly non-state actors. But a worrisome trend is more and more we’re seeing state actors involved in cyber activity that threatens us. I think the reason is there doesn’t seem to be much of a price they pay for this. It seems to me that should be underscored more in the report,” said Risch.
Remarks have been lightly edited for clarity.
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Background: With senior positions on the Senate Energy and Intelligence committees, Risch is actively engaged on cybersecurity issues. Following the high-profile SolarWinds hack, Risch authored a CNBC op-ed outlining what actions the U.S. must take to prioritize cybersecurity.
During the 116th Congress, Risch and U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) introduced legislation to protect the U.S. energy grid, which was later signed into law as part of the FY 2020 NDAA. In March 2021, Risch and King led a bipartisan letter to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm stressing their strong support for the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER), which leads the development of U.S. cybersecurity strategy.
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