Two freshman congressmen with a background in cybersecurity urged their colleagues Monday to take simple steps to better protect their computers and smartphones from hackers.
In a letter sent to members of Congress and their staff, Reps. Ted Lieu , D-Calif., and Will Hurd , R-Texas, warn that foreign governments and criminals can break into electronic devices with “frightening” ease.
The House’s chief information officer has worked hard to protect congressional offices from “millions of cyberattacks every year,” Lieu and Hurd write. But the two stress that individuals working in the Capitol can also help by better protecting their own devices.
They offer several suggestions, including employing complex passwords and two-factor authentication when logging on, and using encryption and encrypted messaging applications. They also urge members and staff to only connect to trusted wireless networks, and to back up important data that could be lost in the event of a ransomware attack.
Lieu and Hurd have computer science degrees, from Stanford and Texas A&M, respectively. Lieu is also a former active duty officer in the Air Force, while Hurd was an undercover CIA officer for nearly a decade before leaving and working for a cybersecurity firm.