Cyberattacks

Senators Working to Reinstate Mandatory Cyber Training
House mandated all staff training in 2015, while Senate lapsed in requirements

Senate Rules and Administration Chairman Roy Blunt and his colleagues on the panel are working to reinstate mandatory cybersecurity training for the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate staffers are not required to undergo information security or cybersecurity training, even as hackers target Congress.

“The cybersecurity threat is very real, and frankly we haven’t stepped up and done what I think we should do to deal with it — which should be an all government response,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas said when asked Tuesday about attempted hacks of Senate networks.

McCaskill: Russian Hack Attempt of Senate Staffer Not Successful
‘I will not be intimidated,’ Missouri Democrat says of failed phishing effort

A staffer for Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., was reportedly targeted by Russian hackers. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 8:48 p.m. | Sen. Claire McCaskill said Thursday that Russian hackers did not successfully penetrate her Senate office’s computer systems, following a report that one of her policy aides was the target of a phishing attack. 

“While this attack was not successful, it is outrageous that they think they can get away with this. I will not be intimidated,” the Missouri Democrat said in a statement. “I’ve said it before and I will say it again, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is a thug and a bully.”

Podcast: Russia Meddles, Trump Fiddles, Midterms in Peril
CQ on Congress, Episode 93

Adm. Michael S. Rogers, head of U.S. Cyber Command and the NSA, says he has received no directive from the president to counter Russian efforts to interfere in U.S. elections. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the head of U.S. Cyber Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee this week that the Defense Department believes Russia will target state election systems, which tally votes, during the 2018 election. But CQ cybersecurity reporter Gopal Ratnam says that neither Congress, nor the Trump administration, has done anything to help states shore up their defenses.

 

Attack on Electrical Grid Could Collapse Economy
No plan exists to help localities prepare for a lengthy blackout

The control room at Covanta Energy's resource recovery facility in Alexandria, Va., monitors power generation and pollutants (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It was like something from a Hollywood movie, but it was real. At about 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 23, a computer in an electricity distribution center in western Ukraine seemed to take on a life of its own. While a helpless worker watched, the cursor on the screen moved by itself and clicked on a box that opened a series of circuit breakers — a move that would take the entire power station offline.  

[ Inside the Pentagon's Plan to Defend the Power Grid ]