Senate Sergeant At Arms More Concerned About Cyberattack Than Jan. 6 Repeat

Cybersecurity has been front and center in the news over the past several weeks in the wake of the discovery of the Solar Winds hack and the hijacking of the Colonial Pipeline and JBS computer networks. It also will be a topic of discussion when President Joe Biden meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva 10 days from now.

The person in charge of security at the U.S. Senate, Sergeant at Arms Karen Gibson, says she’s much more concerned about a cyberattack potentially crippling the government than she is about another Jan. 6-type assault on the Capitol building.

“Our networks … have attempted intrusions every single day,” she said in an interview that aired Saturday on CNN. “And so, cybersecurity for me is a much greater concern than the prospect of thousands of people storming the West Terrace.” Gibson said she’s in complete agreement with FBI Director Christopher Wray, who last week said the threats posed by ransomware have “a lot of parallels” to the 9/11 attack.

Gibson served served in the military for 33 years and was a senior intelligence officer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. She replaced Michael Stenger, who resigned after the Jan. 6 insurrection. She aided in a Capitol security review immediately after the deadly insurrection.

“Members have sensitive information that they would not necessarily want to have disclosed that may be in documents. Much of what we do is public. And meant to be so,” Gibson said. “But I would worry about … nation-state actors or others who might try to just really cripple the government’s ability to function by locking down cybercommunications networks.”

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