Today, Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-8th District) hailed the passage of his amendment establishing the Cybersecurity Task Force, which was included in H.R. 2701, the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2010. The task force is comprised of members of our intelligence community and law enforcement agencies, and it tasks these top experts with strengthening our nation's ability to prevent and deter cyber attacks and cyber terrorism. Based on their analysis, the task force will provide Congress with concrete legislative recommendations to better anticipate and prevent attacks, strengthen our investigative abilities, and improve efforts in prosecuting perpetrators and bringing them to justice.
"When China is able to steal intellectual property from a major U.S. company and Iraqi militants purchase software for $26 to hack into videos from our military's Predator drones, the message is clear: we must do a better job protecting our nation's cyber infrastructure from attack," said Congressman Murphy. "My legislation ensures that community and law enforcement agencies have the tools to investigate and put cyber criminals and cyber terrorists behind bars, ensuring the safety of American families and businesses and strengthening our national security."
Specifically, the task force's recommendations will focus on:
* Improving the intelligence community's ability to pinpoint where and from whom attacks are generated, allowing for stronger prosecution of cybercriminals
* Improving the intelligence community's understanding of newly emerging and non-traditional threats, as the target and scope of attacks are evolving rapidly
* Strengthening federal computer crime statutes to ensure that criminal laws are sufficient to deal with complex and changing nature of the crimes
Several recent major cyber crime cases illustrate the need for quick and decisive action. In mid-December, hackers from China infiltrated Google's corporate infrastructure in a highly sophisticated attack designed to steal the company's intellectual property. Late last year, Iraqi militants used off-the-shelf software they purchased for $26 to hack into live video feeds from U.S. Predator drones, gaining access to data and information that could allow them to spy on or evade critical U.S. military actions.
"Congressman Murphy's bill would make a major contribution to our nation's Intelligence Community and law enforcement by strengthening our understanding of threats to our nation's digital systems," said Dr. Brian Regli, computer crimes expert and CEO of Drakontas, a firm specializing in cybersecurity services for law enforcement and the military. "It's a crucial piece of the Intelligence bill that recognizes that serious vulnerabilities exist within the current system and that we need a comprehensive plan to tackle the problem and protect both national security and our personal privacy."
The House version of the Intelligence bill passed in February and was sent to the Senate for amendments and approval. The vote today is on final passage of the Senate-approved measure in order to send it to the President's desk for his signature.