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US "still not prepared" for major cyberattack

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/GlebStock)

Should a “serious” cyberattack target the United States or any of its institutions, it would be met with very little resistance, as the country is “massively underprepared” for such a scenario.

This is according to politicians that were recently present at the DEF CON hacking conference, namely Ted Lieu and James Langevin.

Discussing the level of preparedness among government networks, the duo said there’s much work to be done.

"No, we are not prepared," said Lieu, one of only four trained computer scientists in Congress. "When a crisis hits, it's too late for Congress to act. We are very weak on a federal level, nearly 20 years after Space Rogue warned us we're still there."

The biggest problem, according to Lieu, is the speed (or lack thereof), at which the Congress operates. Hackers move fast, and that’s their biggest strength.

"As hackers we want things done now," he said. "But Congress doesn't work that way; it doesn't work at the 'speed of hack'. If you're going to engage with it, you need to recognise this is an incremental journey and try not to be so absolutist."

The discussion, according to a report over at The Register, took a slightly different course as the speakers took the opportunity to blame the Trump administration for these weaknesses, even saying the country started moving backwards in 2016, while its predecessors, the Obama administration, laid solid foundations.

Obama laid out a framework for a national incident response team," he said. "That policy is in place, but as to whether it can be executed then we have to hope for the best, but we need to practice it, that's the key thing."