Katko Opening Statement at Emerging Cyberthreats Hearing

WASHINGTON – Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Innovation Subcommittee ranking member, today delivered the following opening statement at a hearing entitled “Preparing for the Future: An Assessment of Emerging Cyberthreats.”

During my time as a federal prosecutor, I saw firsthand how criminals evolved and adapted to changes. As I have learned about the cyber landscape as Ranking Member of this subcommittee, I have been amazed at the number and diversity of the cyber threats we face. These threats are always evolving and adapting to new obstacles, new protections, new tactics, and new technologies. All levels of government – federal, state and local, as well as, our allies around the globe – the private sector, academia and non-profits must work together in order to protect against emerging cyber threats.

Today’s technologies have a number of vulnerabilities that must be protected from bad actors. In the first six months of this year, more than 4 million records have been exposed due to data breaches. Ransomware attacks have doubled in 2019 – in my district, Syracuse City School District and the Onondaga County Library System both suffered ransomware attacks from unknown threat actors last month. More citizens than ever are falling victim to phishing attacks and malware. Cybercrime made up 61 percent of the attacks that cybersecurity firm, Crowdstrike, saw between January and June of this year. And these are just the attacks and statistics that we are aware of; many experts believe incidents to be under-reported.

These threats are persistent, complex and on the rise, and cybersecurity must constantly evolve in order to provide protection. As evidenced by the number of incidents in this year alone, this is a difficult endeavor that cannot be done without help. As I heard from constituents in my district, companies and the local government entities need assistance and guidance to identify, protect against and recover from current cyber threats.

And these are just the threats we see with our current technology. Our cyber landscape is becoming increasingly sophisticated and new innovations are being introduced every day. These advances could put cybersecurity out of reach for even more small, medium and large businesses as well as state and local governments.

It is estimated that 22 million internet of things devices will be online by 2025. 5G deployment is just around the corner. Artificial intelligence and machine learning, while making impacts today, is projected to have even more of an enormous effect on our lives in the years ahead. Quantum computing is on the horizon.

These emerging technologies will undoubtedly present new and evolving cyber threats. While we are staying vigilant and working to protect against current hazards, we must also be preparing for future ones.  Our first step is to better understand these new threats and this hearing is a good start. I am also working to educate my colleagues on the challenges and opportunities of the Internet of Things and the Co-Chair of the IOT Caucus and have spent time learning from Syracuse University about the quantum research they are working on in partnership with the Air Force Research Lab.  And I will do more to seek out opportunities to improve our cybersecurity against current and emerging threats.

I thank the Chairman for holding this important hearing today and to our witnesses here to help us understand the emerging threat landscape. I look forward to our discussion and yield back.

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