US unprepared to fend off cyberattacks: Commission

Financial losses due to cyberattacks in 2019 exceeded $3.5 billion, the FBI found

The U.S. is largely unprepared to fend off future cyberattacks, a new government-commissioned study shows, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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The Cyberspace Solarium Commission will release a report Wednesday detailing the ways in which the U.S. should make significant structural changes to existing technology and develop brand new government tools to fend off cyberattacks, mirroring the ways U.S. infrastructure changed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Journal reported.

"The U.S. is currently not designed to act with the speed and agility necessary to defend the country in cyberspace," the report reads. "Our country has lost hundreds of billions of dollars to nation-state-sponsored intellectual property theft using cyber espionage."

Cities, hospitals, schools and other local government agencies are particularly vulnerable and unprepared for cyber attacks. Baltimore, Atlanta, and smaller U.S. cities like Greenville, North Carolina, spent millions in 2019 fighting off ransomware attempts, Business Insider reported on Jan. 27.

FBI WORKING TO 'BURN DOWN' CYBERCRIMINALS' INFRASTRUCTURE

Financial losses due to cyberattacks in 2019 exceeded $3.5 billion, the FBI's 2019 Internet Crime Report found. The Bureau's Internet Crime Complaint Center received a total of 467,361 internet crime complaints last year. California ranked. No. 1 with more than 50,000 cybercrime victims and $573,624,1513 in financial losses, followed by Flordia, Texas and New York.

WHAT IS 'PHISHING'?

The Cyberspace Solarium Commission, which is led by bipartisan members of Congress and other government leaders, recommends Congress dedicate new committees dedicated solely to strengthening the country's cybersecurity and cyberinfrastructure. Another recommendation calls for a Senate-confirmed national cyber director in the White House, the Journal reported.

"This is the 9/11 Commission report without 9/11," Commission Co-Chair Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, said of the report, according to the Journal. "We understand that this is a tall order."

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Former FBI official Sasha O'Connell said the Commission's effort to form the report and come up with viable solutions did not get enough support from the country's largest tech companies including Apple and Google, as well as small businesses that have recently experienced cyberattacks, the Journal reported.

The Commission's report makes 75 recommendations to strengthen U.S. cybersecurity, some of which it concedes will be difficult to achieve and may take years. Lawmakers on the Commission said they plan to introduce legislation related to the report in coming weeks, according to the Journal.

"It is our hope that we will be able to immediately inject some of the recommendations into the bloodstream of Washington," Commission Co-Chair Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., said.

King, Gallagher, Homeland Security CISA Director Christopher Krebs and former Obama Homeland Security adviser Lisa Monaco spoke about the report at a Monday event hosted by Axios.

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