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Politics

Ted Yoho Looks to Shore Up American Defenses Against Cyberattacks

March 4, 2019 - 1:15pm
Ted Yoho
Ted Yoho

From his perch on the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., has brought back a proposal that he says will protect the nation from cyberattacks. 

Yoho, the top Republican on the U.S. House Asia and Pacific Subcommittee, reintroduced the “Cyber Deterrence and Response Act” last week. The proposal sets up a three-step process for the federal government to identify, deter and respond to state-sponsored cyberattacks. 

The legislation has support from both sides of the aisle with U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who leads Republicans on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., who chairs the Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee, behind it. Still, Yoho should be able to call on more support since, when he introduced the bill last year, U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel, D-NY, who now leads the Foreign Affairs Committee, cosponsored the proposal. 

Yoho weighed in last week why he had brought the proposal back. 

“For years, top U.S. government officials have warned of the persistent and growing threat to our national security from foreign adversaries in cyberspace. Today we are taking steps to address these threats, strengthen our national security, and combat the state-sponsored cyber threats we face,” Yoho said. “Lurking in the shadows, lone wolves and state-sponsored hackers can disrupt America’s networks, endanger our critical infrastructure, harm our economy, and undermine our elections.  It is no secret that state-sponsored cyberattacks from China, North Korea, Iran, and Russia are increasing. It is paramount that we take the necessary steps to prevent these potentially devastating attacks.”

Yoho tipped his cap to legislators from both sides of the aisle for backing his bill. U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Col., and U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., are behind the companion bill in the Senate. 

“Cyber threats affect every American and only together can we defeat this menace. I want to thank my colleagues in the House and Senate for their support of this bill. Especially Lead Republican McCaul, Chairman Sherman, Congressman Langevin, and Senators Gardner and Coons for putting country above politics to strengthen our national security,” Yoho said. 

Yoho has grown increasingly active on cybersecurity issues in recent months. Last year, the North Central Florida Republican unveiled a proposal to allow “ethical hackers” to test the U.S. State Department’s cyber defenses. Yoho paired up with U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., to unveil the “Hack Your State Department Act.” Yoho’s proposal would have “ethical hackers” attempt to hack the State Department’s cyber defenses and identify any vulnerabilities and compensate them for their efforts. 

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