New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan—who has authored or cosponsored a number of bills related to improving the government’s cybersecurity posture and digital operations in recent years—is the newest member of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus.
The bipartisan body, cofounded by Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Cory Gardner, R-Co., seeks to elevate cybersecurity in the public policy realm and to educate its members of evolving threats across the IT landscape.
“From ransomware attacks on local hospitals to a hack of federal government records, cyberattacks pose a serious threat to our communities and national security,” Hassan said in a statement. “I joined the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus to keep working across the aisle to shore up cybersecurity and ensure that both the public and private sector have the resources, information, and training that they need to protect against cyber threats.”
Hassan becomes the 17th member of the body, which Wednesday convened a classified briefing with Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Chris Krebs.
According to press statements from Gardner and Warner, Krebs’ classified testimony focused on the increasing threat of ransomware attacks to the nation’s critical infrastructure, including election systems. Recent examples, including a ransomware attack on the city of Atlanta that cost it $17 million, highlight how hackers can exploit critical systems in an effort to extort public entities for financial gain or other nefarious purposes. Krebs’ briefing also provided senators information and ideas for how they can improve their states’ cyber posture and reduce the overall risk of successful exploitation.
“As I continue to focus in the Senate Homeland Security Committee on enhancing collaboration between state and local governments and the federal government, today’s classified briefing was a helpful conversation to aid us in grappling with the complexities of the threats we face and what we can do to address them,” Hassan said.