No one wants to hear about another hack. As our society becomes more and more reliant on constantly emerging technologies from smart phones to smart cities, we have not been able to keep our digital information secure while harnessing these innovations.
Cybersecurity is no longer only about protecting your social security or bank numbers – it’s about keeping our electricity on and our economy functioning. Nearly every aspect of our lives nowadays depends on technology, which means they are also all vulnerable to hacks.
I came to Congress to find solutions and fix problems, which is why I’m excited to team up with private sector leaders to develop real solutions as a tri-chair of the Aspen Cyber Strategy Group. This group brings together experts and thought leaders across industry sectors to keep up to date on the latest malicious cyber threats and trends.
It can be hard to fully grasp the severity of our current situation. However, the reality is that although the concept of a cyberattack can seem distant and elusive, cyberattacks are very real and impact all of us, our businesses and our economy.
For example, this past year alone, companies lost over $1.2 billion from malware attacks. This is money that could’ve gone into investments like hiring or new equipment purchases. Due to hacks, in 2017 alone, personal information was compromised for 198 million voters, three billion Yahoo account users and 145 million civilians due to the infamous Equifax breach, among others. These hacks will continue to occur until we find and implement concrete, tangible solutions.
That’s why I’ve agreed to lead the initiative and the government cannot do it alone. The new group will facilitate robust conversation between 35 CEOs, lawmakers and academics on how to best address today’s cybersecurity challenges.
For us to truly find a fix to our systemic cybersecurity challenges, the public and private sectors need to work together, and more importantly, the public needs to know that without action their safety and personal information may be at risk. By utilizing experts from the public and private sectors, we will be able to develop tangible, implementable cybersecurity recommendations.
Emerging technology is an exciting thing. It allows us to travel faster, live longer, and communicate more efficiently. At the same time, innovation creates new threats, and we must do a better job protecting ourselves and our systems. This year I’m looking forward to working with policy makers, business owners and cyber experts to turn our security recommendations into action.
A former undercover CIA officer, entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert, Will Hurd is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In Washington, he serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as Vice Chair of the Maritime and Border Security Subcommittee on the Committee for Homeland Security, and as the Chairman of the Information Technology Subcommittee on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.