Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Sunday that she supports a law that would ban companies from paying ransom to hackers holding their information hostage after a recent spate of cyberattacks on companies responsible for crucial parts of the U.S. infrastructure.
In an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," Granholm acknowledged that she is not sure whether Congress or President Joe Biden are ready to take that step, but she warned that paying ransom only emboldens hackers. And she said private companies need to take responsibility and tell the government when they are attacked for the good of the country.
"Everyone needs to wake up and up their game in terms of protecting themselves, but also in terms of telling the federal government if they are a target of attacks. Many of these private companies don't want to let people know. They should not be paying ransomware, but they should be letting us know so we can protect the rest of the country," she said.
"I don't know whether Congress or the president is at that point," she said of a ban on paying ransom, "but I think we need to send this strong message that paying a ransomware only exacerbates and accelerates the problem. You are encouraging the bad actors."
While cyberattacks aren't new, recent high-profile attacks have shined a light on the vulnerabilities that have threatened key infrastructure and supply chains in the U.S. and around the world.
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