Chinese cyberattacks have recently hit American utility services on the West Coast as China continues ramping up its aggression against the United States. Representative Carlos Gimenez (R-FL) appeared on Fox Business's Evening Edit to discuss the situation, warning that artificial intelligence (AI) is making such attacks easier and represents "a real threat to the American homeland."
The Washington Post reported on cyberattacks against an unnamed West Coast port, a water utility in Hawaii, and one oil and gas pipeline. Hackers also attempted to break into the Texas power grid, though they were unsuccessful. While no disruption of operations occurred in these attacks, they pose a dire threat as conflict over Taiwan inches closer.
"It is becoming more and more apparent to us that China is preparing to launch some kind of all-out cyberattack on the United States if we find ourselves in conflict with them over Taiwan," Rep. Gimenez told The Evening Edit. "And what is really scary about it is that it used to take an army of folks launching all of these attacks against us, but now with artificial intelligence, just a handful of people can start to launch cyberattacks all over the United States using artificial intelligence, and it is becoming a real threat to the American homeland."
Host Elizabeth MacDonald asked Rep. Gimenez what the US can do to protect itself, which was the point of a recent House Homeland Security Committee hearing.
The Florida Congressman replied it would largely be a battle to determine "who has the smarter artificial intelligence," but resilience would also be important, "so that if in fact, an attack does penetrate our systems, either grid pipelines or etcetera, that we can disconnect that and go back to more of a manual method so that we are not as vulnerable as we could be if we just relied on digital systems."
In July, Representative Laurel Lee's (R-FL) Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) extension passed unanimously in the House, keeping security standards for US chemical facilities up to date in the event of a cyberattack.