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Lawmakers Push Obama to Shore up State Dept.’s Cyber Efforts

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.); Photo: gillibrand.senate.gov, clarke.house.gov

Two high-profile New York lawmakers urged President Barack Obama to bolster the State Department’s cybersecurity efforts, saying the recent attacks against private companies who cut off business with whistle-blower site WikiLeaks demonstrate the pressing need for new authorities.

According to a report on NY1 television in New York, the proposals by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Yvette Clarke would “put countries with lax cyber enforcement on notice and sanction those who are not stopping such attacks.”

Gillibrand said the hacks against sites such as Visa, MasterCard and PayPal demonstrate the “world is vulnerable to a full-scale cyber war.”

“America must be able to defend against these types of attacks and shut down cyber threats around the world. . . We must go after cyber criminals wherever they are – and it must be an international effort,” she added, according to a report on Tech Herald.

Earlier this year, Gillibrand and Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah introduced the International Cybercrime Reporting and Cooperation Act, which would hold foreign nations accountable for cyber crimes committed within their borders, according to Tech Herald.

Clarke, chair of the House Homeland Security subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity and Science and Technology, has introduced a similar bill in the House, and said it’s needed now more than ever.

“Unfortunately, we have seen just how destructive cyber attacks can be to our businesses and cyberspace,” she added.

Symantec Chief Technology Officer Mark Bregman, who attended the legislators’ press conference, said he encouraged Congress to “follow the continued leadership that Sen. Gillibrand has exhibited on moving to reduce cyber crime issues and pass meaningful cybersecurity legislation.”

The Secret Service estimates that as much as 70 percent of cyber crime originates outside the United States, according to a report in The New York Daily News.

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