WASHINGTON, DC – This week, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Mike Rounds (R-SD), Ranking Member of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, led a bipartisan group of 22 senators in a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas requesting information on efforts to protect against Russian cyber and disinformation threats. The letter references past Russian cyber operations – such as the SolarWinds attack – as evidence of their history of engaging in malicious cyber activities that target the United States. 

CNN: Bipartisan group of senators push Mayorkas for details on US readiness for a Russian cyberthreat

Key Points

  • A bipartisan group of senators is sharing concern with the Biden administration about the potential of widespread Russian cyberattacks in the United States as retribution for harsh sanctions against Russia in the wake of President Vladimir Putin's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
  • In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas Sunday evening obtained by CNN, 22 senators, led by Nevada Democrat Jacky Rosen and South Dakota Republican Mike Rounds, raised questions about America's readiness for Russian cyber and disinformation threats.
  • "Given Russia's history of disruptive cyber and disinformation activities, we are concerned that the United States may be targeted in retaliation for actions taken to impose costs on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine," the senators wrote.

Wall Street Journal: Senators Request DHS Briefing on Efforts to Protect U.S. From Russian Cyberattacks, Propaganda

Key Points

  • A bipartisan group of nearly two dozen senators have called upon Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to provide information on any efforts by the Biden administration to protect the U.S. from potential retaliatory Russian cyber and disinformation threats in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • The letter—spearheaded by Sens. Jacky Rosen (D., N.V.), a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Mike Rounds (R., S.D.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services subcommittee on cybersecurity—also requested a briefing from the Department of Homeland Security on the status of those efforts.
  • They also praised the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency for creating the Shields Up Technical Guidance webpage, which is aimed at preparing for and mitigating the potential impact of cyberattacks in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • However, they questioned what, if any, strategy exists to protect U.S. critical infrastructure from being targeted should Moscow respond to the continued global crackdown. They also requested information on what the U.S. is doing to defend against Russian disinformation efforts, including whether that threat level has changed since the start of the invasion last month.

The Hill: Bipartisan group of senators press Mayorkas on US readiness for Russian cyberthreat

Key Points: 

  • A bipartisan group of senators is pressing Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on the U.S.’s readiness for Russian cyberattacks amid Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • The group of 22 senators, led by Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), penned a letter to Mayorkas on Sunday asking for a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) briefing on “efforts to protect the United States homeland from Russian government cyber and disinformation threats in the wake of Russia’s violent and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.”
  • The senators are specifically concerned that Russia may use cyber and disinformation activities to retaliate against the U.S. for crushing sanctions it has placed on Moscow in response to its war on Ukraine. 
  • The senators are also asking if specific U.S. entities or sectors are targets, and how CISA is providing technical support to them, in addition to questions over its Shields Up Technical Guidance.

CNN: Bipartisan Lawmakers Warn of Possible Russian Cyberattacks

  • SENATOR ROSEN: “I am the only former computer programmer in the United States Senate. So I have sent a letter with 20 of my colleagues to Secretary Mayorkas and the Department of Homeland Security to be sure that we’re ready for any cyberattacks in our critical infrastructure that may come our way as a matter of retaliation for the support that we’re giving Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.”

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