The Senate’s chief law enforcement officer says a potential cyberattack “keeps [her] up at night” more than another Capitol insurrection.
“I worry a lot more about cybersecurity than I do about another mob attacking the Capitol. Certainly, our networks … have attempted intrusions every single day,” Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Karen Gibson told CNN.
“And so cybersecurity for me is a much greater concern than the prospect of thousands of people storming the West Terrace. It is truly the cyber threat that keeps me up at night.”
Gibson, who took her position in March, said cybersecurity and ransomware threats are a greater concern because they could “cripple” the government.
“I would worry about, I think, nation-state actors or others who might try to just really cripple the government’s ability to function by locking down cyber communications network,” she told the network.
“There are many opportunities for those who wish us harm to do so, in a cyber domain.”
The ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline last month shut down the largest US oil pipeline for six days. Then, five of America’s largest beef plants were shut down Tuesday following a cyberattack, further throttling an already pandemic-ravaged supply chain.
Gibson’s comments also come after FBI Director Wray compared cybersecurity threats to 9/11.
“There are a lot of parallels, there’s a lot of importance, and a lot of focus by us on disruption and prevention,” he told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published Thursday.
Five people died as a result of the US Capitol’s invasion Jan. 6 by pro-Trump rioters, who tried to prevent members of Congress from certifying the November 2020 Presidential Election results.
In response, a Congress-ordered security review recommended hiring 900 more Capitol officers, among other security-tightening measures.