Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing on cyber security.
Statement of the Honorable Lamar Smith
Joint Economic Committee
Wired World: Cyber Security and the U.S. Economy
June 21, 2001
I have a particular interest in this subject. As Chairman of the
House Judiciary Crime Subcommittee, I recently held three hearings
on the issue of cyber security. The final hearing examined the role
of businesses in combating cyber crime.
Crime is still crime, whether it occurs on the street or on the
And while other crime rates continue to drop, cyber crime is dramatically
The economic consequences of cyber crime are enormous. Billions
of dollars are lost every year. International software pirates rip-off
consumers and companies, costing hundreds of thousands of American
Last May one computer virus disrupted the communications of hundreds
of thousands of computers, causing losses estimated in the billions
of dollars. And in March, the FBI issued a warning that an organized
group of Russian hackers had stolen more than a million credit card
numbers from companies' databases.
The Internet has fostered an environment where hackers retrieve
private data for amusement, individuals distribute software illegally,
and viruses circulate with the sole purpose of debilitating computers.
In confronting this issue, the business community faces a dilemma.
Do they report cyber crime at the risk of losing the public's confidence
in their ability to protect customer information? Or, do they fail
to act and risk losses and repeat attacks?
Technology holds the key to the future, and private businesses
are leading the way in innovation and products. But if left unchecked,
cyber crime will stifle that progress.
I hope to hear from the witnesses on how their companies and businesses
are working to enhance cyber security. I also would like to hear
about their suggestions for legislation.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.