Pallone and Doyle Request FCC and DHS Briefings on Efforts to Defend Against Iranian Cyberattacks
Washington, D.C. – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) sent letters today to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requesting briefings on the agencies’ efforts to ensure the security of American telecommunications networks in the wake of the killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. Pallone and Doyle want to know what steps have been taken to date to warn communications providers and help carriers prepare and defend against potential cyberattacks.
The two Committee leaders voiced concern that in addition to the use of conventional force against American military bases, like the recent strikes after the killing of Soleimani, the threat of cyberattacks remains. Iran has previously conducted cyberattacks against American businesses in response to U.S. government actions. Such attacks may be conducted through communications networks, threatening the security and safety of critical infrastructure that connects and enables other businesses, public safety organizations and government agencies.
“We are concerned that Iran, its allies, or other entities wishing to take advantage of this situation might retaliate by attacking U.S. communications networks, or use such networks to attack other targets,” Pallone and Doyle wrote. “To protect the American people, the government must proactively work with industry to identify potential threats and aid carriers in the defense of critical communications infrastructure. It is paramount that the U.S. Government work with all network providers, and particularly smaller carriers and those that might not otherwise have the means or ability to defend against any attack.”
Pallone and Doyle are requesting a briefing from the FCC and DHS by February 5th to address the following questions:
- What actions, if any, has the government taken to ensure private network operators are prepared for a potential cyberattack from Iran, its allies, or others wishing to take advantage of the current escalation of tensions?
- When did the Administration or Commission take such action(s), if at all?
- What actions have network providers taken to protect their networks from cyberattack by nation states, including Iran?
- When did network providers take such actions, if any, and to what events were they responding?
- Have network providers been subject to an increase in cyberattacks since January 2?