Langevin Recognizes Cyber Security Awareness Month, Touts RI Security Efforts

Oct 20, 2011 Issues: Cybersecurity, Education

In recognition of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) highlighted advances made in keeping Rhode Island safe online and discussed next steps for local authorities during a tour of the state’s Computer Crimes Unit. Joined by Det. Sgt. Ken Bell and Col. Steven O’Donnell, who heads the Rhode Island State Police, at the North Scituate headquarters, Langevin also applauded efforts by law enforcement to work with the education and business communities to deal with threats in cyberspace.

Rhode Island’s Cyber Disruption Team, announced by the Congressman earlier this year, represents one of the first groups in the nation that brings these communities together to respond to cyber disruptions affecting public and private critical infrastructure, and ensure continuity of service, restoration of cyber operations and the safety of Rhode Island citizens. Langevin spoke with Bell and O’Donnell about their latest progress in developing ways to provide analysis and support prior to and during catastrophic events, such as problems with a water system or the electric grid.

“Cybersecurity Awareness Month provides an opportunity to give some well-deserved credit to those like Det. Sgt. Bell and Col. O’Donnell who have helped make Rhode Island a national model for dealing with the constantly increasing risks we face online,” said Langevin, who co-founded the bipartisan Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus. “Our growing reliance on the Internet to operate key sectors of society has resulted in remarkable improvements to our daily lives, but we will only fully realize those benefits if we also recognize the security risks posed by computer viruses and act to protect our citizens from the potential for great physical and economic damage.”

The Congressman stressed that responsibility for safe practices in cyberspace lies not only with public officials, but also individuals and private companies. He has supported a broader cybersecurity initiative among law enforcement, educators and business leaders in Rhode Island that goes beyond the responsibilities of the cyber disruption team to raise awareness of potential vulnerabilities and train a qualified workforce capable of helping the public and private sectors deal with cyber threats. In addition, Langevin has lauded an announcement by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) this month clarifying that public companies are required to report cyber risks and network breaches to shareholders.

“Despite the fact that a 2010 study found the average cost of a data breach to be $7.2 million and the increasing value of intellectual property lost in cyber attacks, publicly traded companies have not been open about these significant incidents,” said Langevin. “The SEC's requirement is not an effort to punish those who have had an intrusion. Instead, it offers a way to provide transparency to consumers and allows the market to address this problem through customer choice.”

Langevin will continue his Cybersecurity Awareness Month activities next Wednesday when he addresses key national policy concerns during a keynote speech at the Brookings Institution.