Witnesses stressed that the United States must do more to protect itself against cyber attacks from foreign infiltrators in front of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Tuesday morning.
While many countries participate in cyber espionage against the United States, the panel testifying before the committee unanimously agreed that the majority of the attacks originate in China.
Larry Wortzel, commissioner of the United States China Economic and Security Review Commission, emphasized that China will continue to steal from the United States because cyber espionage is an essential component to China's continued economic growth and thus a mainstay in keeping the dominant political party in power.
Wortzel went on to suggest that cyber trespasses against both private and government run entities must result in criminal charges and penalties.
James Lewis, director and senior fellow in the Technology and Public Policy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies also pointed out that U.S. companies have no standard for cyber security, something that is desperately needed in order to combat breaches in the private sector.
Cyber espionage and theft of intellectual properties costs the United States over $300 billion a year and over 2.1 million lost jobs, said Rep. Tim Murphy (R., Pa.) in his opening statement.
"If we fail to act, our national security is at stake," said former Sen. Slade Gorten (R., Wash).
Gorton also stressed the need for one person to be the focal point for all things cyber security, suggesting that the secretary of commerce fill the position.
The Committee on Energy and Commerce met just weeks after President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed China's ongoing role in cyber attacks against the United States when the two leaders met in Sunnyvale, Calif.
The Obama administration declined an invitation to testify at Tuesday’s hearing.