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Katko on CNBC: Pipeline Attack Requires Strong Response

May 14, 2021

Katko on CNBC: Pipeline Attack Requires Strong Response

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. John Katko (R-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, joined Carl Quintanilla on CNBC’s The News with Shepard Smith to discuss the recent ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline Company. Katko underscored that the U.S. must do a better job of securing critical infrastructure networks and urged the Administration to impose serious consequences on those responsible for the attack.

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Significant Attack: “There seems to be an escalating series of ransomware and cyber attacks on the homeland. As the Republican head of the Homeland Security Committee, it’s our job to try to figure out what to do. This is probably the most significant ransomware attack on one of our critical infrastructure sectors ever.”

Russia’s Role: “Make no mistake about it – this was a major act in Russia. I find it hard to believe that the Russian government, given their sophistication with ransomware attacks and their knowledge of them, didn’t at least have tacit approval of this. That’s something we need to take a look at.”

Securing Critical Infrastructure: “From a critical infrastructure standpoint, there’s an awful lot we need to do to better secure our systems. We’ve got electrical grids in this country; we have water systems; we have pipelines. We have a lot of critical infrastructure that is really [vulnerable] to ransomware attacks and cyber attacks, and we need to do a much better job [of securing them].”

Money Trail: “I don’t think it’s a great move [to pay ransom]. More importantly, if people do pay the ransom, we need to do a much better job, like I did as a prosecutor, following the money trail. Almost uniformly with these ransomware attacks, [hackers] get paid in cryptocurrencies and we’ve got to find a better way to find the money trail.”

Serious Response: “There’s got to be a very serious response here. I’m heartened to hear the Administration is contemplating a serious response. We’ve had a lot of very serious cyber attacks recently and I’m not sure our responses are having the bad guys get the message. We need to amp that up for sure.”

Team Effort: “CISA is woefully underfunded and understaffed, and we need to do a better job of helping these private sector companies with their security posture. On the other hand, the private sector companies have got to be willing to work with us. … It’s a team effort. … I’ve been calling for beefing up CISA considerably in the next few years.”