April 20, 2024

The Section 702 economic risks that few are talking about

Corporations and investors are rightfully examining their geopolitical risk exposure in light of the Iranian strike against Israel and the Israeli response.

However, there’s an underappreciated political risk far closer to home that could significantly impact the U.S. and United Kingdom business communities and which geopolitical analysts should add to their risk portfolio – the potential lapse of U.S. Section 702 authority. The Senate moved to extend the authority on Thursday after a rocky path in the House of Representatives, but challenging politics around Section 702 could constitute an ongoing threat to American and British investors and corporations alike, even if the Senate passes the extension in short order.

The U.S. business community and its British partners should be fully invested in Section 702’s reauthorization, and, equally important, pay attention to evolving politics on Section 702 if there is a change of administration.

The authority is uniquely suited to address threats that either did not exist or have metastasized since FISA’s last reauthorization in 2018. For example, U.S. energy companies have faced a wave of cyber threats over the last five years. The May 2021 ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline, which resulted in significant delays in gasoline deliveries to Americans, epitomized increasing cyberattacks against U.S. critical infrastructure. Section 702 has become the primary tool to detect and thwart these attacks.

This cyber threat will likely increase in light of Iran’s strike, and both the U.S. and the U.K. could be targets given their defense of Israel against Iranian missiles. Iran will not strike them directly; instead, it will likely rely on shadow cyber attacks, along with proxy forces, such as the Houthis, to harass U.S. and U.K. interests.

American and British companies should expect enhanced cyber attacks out of Tehran, similar to what Iran launched in 2022 against Britain and what it constantly unleashes on the U.S. These threats will become harder to stop were Section 702 to disappear.

Read the full article from The Hill.

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia