Cyberattacks on U.S. Companies 'Will Only Intensify,' Warns Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo

United States Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said businesses of all sizes and industries across the country should assume that cyberattacks will only increase moving into the future.

Appearing on ABC News' This Week Sunday, Raimondo responded to numerous cyberattacks on food, gas, television and water supply companies over the past year. Host George Stephanopoulos pressed her on how much the federal government should do to "force businesses" to protect themselves and their customers' data.

Raimondo said President Joe Biden is "evaluating all options" on how to enforce cybersecurity protection within the private sector.

"The first thing we have to recognize is this is the reality and we should assume, and businesses should assume, that these attacks are here to stay and if anything will intensify. Just last week, the White House sent out a letter broadly to the business community, urging the business community to do more," the U.S. Commerce Secretary told This Week.

In wake of numerous cyberattacks, @GStephanopoulos presses Commerce Sec. Gina Raimondo on whether the government should do more to force businesses to protect themselves and their customers: "It is clear that the private sector needs to be more vigilant."

— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) June 6, 2021

Raimondo said that one of the upshots of cybersecurity measures is they are not very expensive and can be easily put into place by businesses small and large.

"The only good news here is that some very simple steps—two-factor authentication, having proper backups—can be enormously helpful against a wide variety of these attacks."

"It's clear the private sector needs to be more vigilant, by the way including small- and medium-size companies, and President Biden has been clear that we need to do more," she added.

Raimondo said the proposed American Jobs Plan looks to "shore up investments" aimed at preventing cybersecurity attacks in all industries.

"Certain components of the American Jobs Plan provide for investments to shore up the nation's cyberinfrastructure," the commerce secretary told Stephanopoulos.

"This week when the president meets with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and other world leaders, this will be at the top of the agenda," she added.

Several members of the Biden administration, including Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, said "very malign actors" are lining up to attack American businesses from both foreign and domestic fronts.

"This is why the private sector and the public sector have to work together," she told CNN's State of the Union. "And this is what the president is doing. He's working with our allies. He's working with countries around the world, because other countries, even Russia, they don't want to see their sectors attacked by malign actors, by rogue non-state actors, not to mention state actors."

Newsweek reached out to the U.S. Department of Commerce for any additional remarks about cybersecurity attack prevention measures.

Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo, White House
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo discussed the ways in which Trump-era tariffs "helped save American jobs" in certain industries during a news conference on Wednesday. Above, Raimondo speaks during a daily press briefing at the White House on April 7, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Alex Wong/Getty Images