Addressing the 2017 Digital Nation Summit, the Maryland congressman whose district is home to the National Security Agency, said that cyber-security threats from Russia are keeping him awake at night. “I mean, we have to always look at China, and you have to look at Iran, you have to look at North Korea … but I think right now, where we have to focus especially in this field, is Russia,” said Ruppersburger.
Referencing Russian interference in U.S. elections, he said that “it wasn’t about taking our voting machines and changing those. It was about the propaganda, and their ability to do what they did and keep getting the name and the messages out.”
Internationally, Putin is “probably the best in the world in propaganda,” he added.
Ruppersburger spent 12 years on the House Intelligence Committee. He now serves on the House Appropriations Committee.
The Russians are investing in cybersecurity, military and space capabilities, he said, and Russian President Vladimir Putin is shrewd, smart and motivated.
Pointing out that 80 percent of networks in the U.S. are controlled by the private sector, Ruppersberger urged cooperation, innovation and investment in cyber-security. He also emphasized the need for education and to train young people to work in the cyber-security field.
The U.S. needs to stay alert and be able to counter cyber-intrusions. Referencing North Korea’s involvement in the attack on Sony Entertainment, Ruppersburger said, “We’ve only had one destructive attack in this country, but believe me, they’ll be coming.”