The U.S. needs an immediate, strategic cyberdefense strategy

Over the weekend, a cybercrime group led a significant cyberattack on the biggest U.S. pipeline, Colonial Pipeline, which carries 45% of the east coast’s fuel supplies. As a result, the White House has created an inter-agency task force to address the pipeline breach and loosened regulations for transporting petroleum products on highways to avoid further disruptions in our fuel supply.

Right now, the two most important things are restarting the pipeline, which is critical for supplies along the east coast, including Connecticut and addressing the severe need for more effective cybersecurity defenses.

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I joined CNN’s New Day this morning to discuss the cyberattack and what action we need to take to stop this from happening again.

This cyberattack by a Russia-based ransomware organization shut down 5,500 miles of pipeline from Texas to New York, affecting the distribution of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel which impacts both families and businesses. We’re already seeing gas prices increase as we work to restore service fully.

Our national infrastructure is vulnerable to these cyberattacks, and the need for effective cybersecurity defenses is greater than ever. Imagine if this attack reoccurs, but adversaries target our hospitals, utilities, water or electricity.

As I’ve been doing for years, I’m calling for Republicans and Democrats to work together to create clear principles defining our response to cyberattacks. We must take aggressive, proactive action to track cybercriminals groups and ensure that countries and private actors do not continue offensive cyber operations. Our adversaries must learn they will face retaliation and pay a high price. We need to start fighting back.

I will continue to work with my colleagues on a strategic cyberdefense strategy that will keep our country safe and deter future threats.

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