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U.S. needs to respond quickly to massive cyber-attack, Utah law professor says

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U.S. needs to respond quickly to massive cyber-attack, Utah law professor says. (Photo: KUTV)

Federal investigators are still trying to figure out the scope of a massive cyber-attack that intruded into the U.S. government and other computer systems.

Experts believe Russia, and possibly other foreign actors, are responsible for the breach, though the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has not confirmed that.

On Friday, Senator Mitt Romney compared the attack to Russian bombers flying undetected over the country and urged a ‘national security reset’ to prioritize cybersecurity.

Amos Guiora, a law professor at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law, told 2News:

“In terms of the impact on national security, this is significant. I think we should be surprised, perhaps, by the extent of it, the scope of it, the reach of it,” Guiora said. "It is an interesting question whether cyber is an act of war.”

Guiora echoed Romney’s criticism of the Trump administration’s response to the cyber-attack.

“The president is obviously no longer engaged in his job,” he said.

It is believed the hackers accessed the government’s networks through SolarWinds Software, which is used by many government agencies and large companies. While the extent of the hack isn’t fully known, officials have confirmed computer systems at the Treasury and Commerce departments have been compromised.

"It's going to take a while for our forensic cyber sleuths to find out where this attack is, where the Russians have gotten their tentacles in," former Principle Deputy Undersecretary for Homeland Intelligence Jack Thomas Tomarchio told CBS News.

CBS News reports President Trump has been briefed on the cyberattack but has yet to make public comments.

Guiora says President Trump needs to respond to the attacks swiftly and publicly.

“President Trump is President of the United States until noon on January 20th... what people need to do is to engage with their representatives and tell them to get the President engaged,” he said.