Beyond the Budget, Democrats Back Cyber Bills
With another government shutdown averted, and a new deadline set for April 8, it seems many on the Hill are looking to make a foray on federal funding as the budget belt-tightening continues.
But as the cuts come, Democrats in both the House and Senate aren’t scaling back on cybersecurity, with a steady roll-out of cyber bills building up in 2011.
The latest to layout his cyber plans this week was Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI), who, on Wednesday, introduced the Executive Cyberspace Coordination Act, a bill that intends “to significantly strengthen protections against dangerous cyber threats.”
Calling for the establishment of a National Office for Cyberspace, creation of Cyber Challenge Programs and reforms to the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), the congressman formed the foundation of his bill based on cyber recommendations provided in a recent report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“Our nation sits at a crucial moment, where cyber attacks are common, but have not yet significantly impacted or endangered the American way of life,” Langevin said in a statement. “We have the opportunity to improve prevention and response to cybersecurity threats, but we must take action now.”
But action is already being taken by a handful of other Democrats in the House and Senate, who are looking to conjure up support for their own cyber bills brought forward in 2011.
On January 5, we saw Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) introduce the Homeland Security Cyber and Physical Infrastructure Protection Act, which aims to create an Office of Cybersecurity and Communications within the Department of Homeland Security to create cohesiveness in securing the government’s systems from potential cyber attacks.
That same day, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) rolled out the Cybersecurity Education Enhancement Act, intending to beef up the cybersecurity workforce by providing grants to institutions of higher education to focus on cyber training.
On January 25, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) introduced the Cyber Security and American Cyber Competitiveness Act, a bill cosponsored alongside 12 Senate Democrats, pushing to protect the US from cyber attacks by enhancing private-public sector partnerships to foster innovation and greater IT support throughout the nation’s networks.
In February, following the investigation into cyber attacks against US oil refineries and NASDAQ, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) laid out his intent to introduce the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act, with a focus on securing the financial sector and surrounding industries by conducting extensive cyber research and developing long-term, proactive plans.
And finally, in February, we saw the re-roll-out of one of the most debated cyber bills, Senators Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Tom Carper’s (D-Del.) Cybersecurity and Internet Freedom Act. Formerly known as the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, the bipartisan-supported bill features a face lift to free-up the lingo that left the tech world contesting the concept of an Internet ‘kill switch.’ Nonetheless, the new bill will be one to keep an eye on before Sen. Lieberman retires from the Senate in 2012.
And so, as March Madness plunges on, with budget-balancing and stop-gap spending sure to capture the headlines into April, don’t expect to see cybersecurity being swept under the rug anytime soon.
But if you can’t wait until the next new bill, check out the latest cybersecurity news headlines below:
US lacks people, authorities to face cyber attack (Associated Press)
Intelligence Director: Threat mounts from convergence (GovInfoSecurity)
DHS seeks cybersecurity help from engineers, scientists (InformationWeek)
Hacker group releases BofA emails (The Hill)
IT workers lack control in mobile cybersecurity (Federal News Radio)
Prolific spam network is unplugged (Wall Street Journal)
Coalition offers cybersecurity roadmap (Homeland Security Today)
Combating smart grid vulnerabilities (Journal of Energy Security)
Data breaches increasingly costly for business travelers (New York Times)
Opinion: Time to rethink the cyber defense equation (FedComputerWeek)
Report: Iran’s paramilitary launches cyber attack (Associated Press)
China vulnerable to cyber attack (Washington Times)
Cyber attacks add to North Korean arsenal (Asia Times)
NATO defense ministers shape cyber defense policy (Defense News)
Germany enhances cyber war strategy (Fast Company)
Ottawa urged to fight power-grid hackers (Vancouver Sun)
The Irrawaddy news site hacked (The Irrawaddy – Burma)
Al-Mustaqbal and Hariri websites under cyber attack (Naharnet – Lebanon)
Ottawa should act to stop power-grid hackers: industry insiders (National Post)
CACI is among IT support contractors for FBI (BusinessWeek)
Google issues Microsoft IE warning (InformationWeek)
McAfee and RSA form technology partnership (Press Release)
Microsoft adds do-not-track tool to IE9 browser released today (Wall Street Journal)
Cyber attack hits Codero (eSecurity Planet)
Northrop Grumman sponsors cyber competition (Press Release)