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How Can The U.S. Protect Against Hackers And The Rise Of Cyber Warfare?

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Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels CC0: https://bit.ly/3bD97m6
Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels CC0: https://bit.ly/3bD97m6

On May 7, the U.S.' largest fuel pipeline was taken hostage by a ransomware attack, effectively paralyzing a system that supplies about 45% of the East Coast's gasoline consumption.

Colonial Pipeline now confirms it paid hackers $4.4 million to regain control of its computer systems and restart its pipeline after the hostile takeover, which sparked panic-buying and shortages at gas stations from D.C. to Florida.

Who were these hackers and how did they get away with such an audacious incursion?

In response to the increasing severity and frequency of cyberattacks, intelligence agencies are ramping up efforts to protect the nation, Congress is considering multiple bills to secure critical infrastructure and President Biden signed an executive order to modernize the government's response to cyberattacks. Is it enough?

School districts, companiesand local governmentshave also been victims of cyberattacks, and federal officials recently issued a warning about an "increased and imminent" threat of cyber assaults against U.S. hospitals and health care systems.

In Texas, at least 23 state government agencies were taken offline as a result of a coordinated malware attack in 2019. Hackers again targeted Texas in 2020 with ransomware attacks on the state's court system and transportation agency.

How big of a global and domestic threat is cyberwarfare? What are the national security implications of the rise of cyberweapons?

How vulnerable are American institutions to cyberattacks? How can the U.S. protect itself from these kinds of intangible threats?

What should potentially vulnerable entities know and do both to protect themselves from being compromised, or in the event that they are the target or victim of a cyberattack?


"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Thursday, May 20.

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