A bipartisan group of 22 senators is asking the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and other Federal cybersecurity agencies for an update on what steps the government is taking to safeguard the United States and its critical infrastructure sectors against Russia-backed cyber and disinformation threats.

In March 13 letter to security officials, the senators said they are concerned that Russia may retaliate against the U.S. for steps taken to impose costs on Russia in the wake of its “violent and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.”

The group of senators led by Sens. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., and Mike Rounds, R-S.D., addressed their letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and copied CISA Director Jen Easterly, National Cyber Director Chris Inglis and Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology Anne Neuberger.

“As we stand with the Ukrainian people, impose crushing sanctions on Vladimir Putin’s regime and push for additional security assistance to help Ukraine defend itself, we also must work to secure the homeland from retaliatory cyber activities,” the senators said.

They acknowledged already measures already taken by the government to help organizations prepare for, respond to, and mitigate the impact of cyberattacks in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – including the Shields Up Technical Guidance released by CISA last month.

Given the evolving cyber threats from Russia, the senators requested a briefing to address the following questions:

  1. What is CISA doing to monitor and proactively defend against Russian government-sponsored threats?
  2. How is CISA proactively identifying and providing technical support to critical infrastructure owners and operators that are most at risk?
  3. How is guidance shared with smaller entities that do not have information security leaders?
  4. How is DHS defending against Russian disinformation efforts?
  5. How has the disinformation threat level to the U.S. changed since Russia invaded Ukraine?
  6. How is CISA coordinating with international partners to advance operational coordination and build partner capacity?
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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.