Will next Pearl Harbor occur in cyberspace?

Thursday - 11/17/2011, 8:37am EST

By Michael O'Connell
Web Editor
Federal News Radio

Cybersecurity legislation will be on the Senate's agenda in 2012.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) says the issue will come up during the first work period of the new year. The National Journal reports the Nevada Democrat told Republican leaders about his decision in a letter late last night.

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, (ID-Conn.), Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Federal Financial Management Subcommittee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) issued a statement, saying that every day Congress fails to strengthen the cybersecurity of the nation's critical infrastructure, is another day of unacceptable risk.

"Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has warned that the next Pearl Harbor 'could very well be a cyber attack that cripples our power systems, our grid, our security systems, our financial systems, our governmental systems,'" the statement read. For this reason, Reid added the legislation to the 2012 schedule.

The Cybersecurity and Internet Freedom Act addresses government authority, structure, and other cybersecurity issues. Civil libertarians criticize the bill for giving the government too much power over the Internet.

This story is part of Federal News Radio's daily Cybersecurity Update. For more cybersecurity news, click here.