I guess Bruce Willis was unavailable to stop these threats:
The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs approved a comprehensive cybersecurity bill on Thursday after amending it to limit the president’s authority in the event of a cyber emergency.
The bill, co-sponsored by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) would make the Department of Homeland Security responsible for protecting civilian networks in the government and private sector. The bill will now head to the full Senate for a vote, where it will likely be merged with other competing pieces of cybersecurity legislation.
“These cyber attacks are increasingly more sophisticated, more persistent and more successful,” Carper said. “In short — the status quo is simply not enough.”
The original bill gave the president indefinite emergency authority to shut down private sector or government networks in the event of a cyber attack capable of causing massive damage or loss of life. An amendment passed Thursday limits that authority further, requiring the president to get Congressional approval after controlling a network for 120 days.
At least there is a little more protection in there from the original bill, but I sill question if the government is the best at dealing with these threats given the governments lag in catching up with technology.
My experience in the computer field that spans over a quarter of a century is also questioning this. One problem is that once one of these attacks are really noticed the damage is done. Chances are you aren’t going to have some hacker sitting there pushing the button for each phase of the attack. Instead they would have written code that would do it on given conditions, such as time frames. This code would already be on the computers and would have pretty much gone in unnoticed. Even if the network is shutdown, the code is still there.
Another issue is the effect of shutting down the network. Depending on what we are talking about, it could cause more harm than good. Would killing the network on a system that controls traffic signals suddenly shut them all off? The same could be asked of the systems controlling our power grid.
What really needs to be done is an overall evaluation of our country’s network infrastructure. Before granting this authority, we need to be sure that invoking it won’t cause more harm than good. The United States has failed in keeping up in technologies, so we need to take the lead again and insure that we have the most up to date technologies power us with the most advanced fail-overs incase such a scenario ever does happen.