Speed Reads

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Energy secretary says she'd support law banning ransomware payments

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told CNN's Jake Tapper Sunday that she believes adversaries of the United States have the capability to shut down the power grid and thinks "there are very malign actors who are trying even as we speak." 

That explains why she also said she would support a law banning companies from making ransomware payments if they become victims of a cyberattack, as Colonial Pipeline did last month, though she acknowledged she isn't sure President Biden and Congress have reached that point.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the Senate Intelligence Committee chair, provided a small window into Congress' thinking on the matter, telling NBC News' Chuck Todd that it's a "debate worth having."

Todd noted that proponents of such a law believe if companies stopped paying ransoms, then the attacks would also halt. However, Warner echoed Colonial Pipeline's concerns that the risk of not paying the ransom may outweigh the financial hit, especially for companies that play a crucial role in the country's infrastructure. So, he appeared to settle on the middle ground for now, highlighting the need for companies to be more transparent about whether they've been attacked and made a ransom payment.