The number of foreign gifts from countries outside the United States dropped after President Obama left office. Now, at the start of the Trump administration, a congressional Democratic lawmaker is worried that could be an opportunity for Chinese hackers to gain access to American government networks.
“How much of this is a direct result of the access to non-US visitors and interest on the part of Chinese hackers?” Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) said in an interview with Fox News Radio’s Guy Benson and Marie Harf. “What are our secrets up there that they’re interested in? How much of that do we have to protect? How much of this is going to change as we move forward into 2019?”
Dr. Andrew McAfee, one of the co-authors of the book “White Ops: The Human Cost of Cyberwar” agreed with Gallagher that it might be a concern. “I think that’s a concern. The idea that the Chinese, who have had a lot of success hacking into Americans’ networks for at least a decade now, are going to suddenly decide that they aren’t a problem is just foolhardy,” McAfee said.
McAfee shared more concerns with reporters before a series of joint briefings by Homeland Security and the agencies responsible for coordinating federal, state and local cybersecurity with state leaders and local governments in New York City on Monday.
“We believe that foreign governments and cyber-actors are conducting a near-constant campaign of espionage on Americans every day in a range of industries. This ranges from secret economic information to sensitive classified information, to weaponized malware like we’ve recently seen at an Army base, to hacker teams lurking inside of the massive surveillance databases of our government,” said Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
The second round of these briefings, which aims to update local leaders on homeland security concerns, will be held in Ohio on December 12.
“What’s happening here is fundamentally a matter of trust. People in government need to trust the leadership and operation of the national security community and that relationship needs to be reinforced by fact-based, coordinated briefings like this one that we hope to have,” said Nielson.
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