Whitehouse on Cyber Security

My cover story in this week's Phoenix on cyber security quotes Congressman Jim Langevin, who has been a leading voice on the issue in the House. But another member of the Rhode Island delegation - Senator Sheldon Whitehouse - is also active on the issue. He co-authored a recent op-ed for CNN, with Senators Barbara Mikulski and Olympia Snowe, on the topic. Here's an excerpt:

Recently, we completed an intensive, bipartisan six-month study on cybersecurity and presented it to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Although the nature of our study requires that most of it be classified, one of our key findings is entirely unclassified, and we hope it will change the way the country acts in cyberspace.

Simply put, computer users must practice active cyber self-defense. This means that if users would allow automatic, and generally free, software updates and maintained up-to-date antivirus software, most cyberthreats could be defeated. If computer users observed these basic "rules of the road" on the information superhighway, all Americans would be safer from cyberattacks.

America's national and economic security depends on the resilience of our nation's information networks. Every sector of the U.S. economy and component of the U.S. government is, in some way, dependent on networked information technologies.

This ever-growing dependency makes us vulnerable to attack. To put the scale of the vulnerability in perspective, the amount of data and intellectual property stolen from U.S. business and government computer networks each year is equivalent to the entire holdings of the Library of Congress.

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