Senate bill bolsters security for critical infrastructure – The National Desk

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WASHINGTON (SBG) — A bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill Thursday to fortify the federal government’s defense against cyberattacks.

The bill is sponsored by leaders of the Senate committees on intelligence and homeland security, including Sens. Gary Peters, D-Mich., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Mark Warner, D-Va.

It would enable the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to work with other agencies and companies that run and protect the country’s infrastructure to identify vulnerabilities and improve their defenses. CISA would also take the lead role in the federal response to cyberattacks.

“As foreign adversaries and the criminal organizations they harbor continue to target our critical infrastructure systems, it is essential we work to protect these networks from attacks that can lead to significant harm to the American people,” Peters said in a release. “This bipartisan, commonsense bill will help shore up the defenses of critical infrastructure networks and address vulnerabilities in products and technologies that help operate them.”

The bill is the Senate companion to legislation that unanimously passed the House Tuesday.

“Attacks like the one against Colonial Pipeline show the real-world implications that cyberattacks against critical infrastructure can have,” Portman said. “CISA’s role to play in supporting critical infrastructure owners and operators is crucial. I am pleased to join my bipartisan colleagues in introducing this bill to ensure CISA can better defend against threats and increase the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure.”

Congress has taken up a series of bills to bolster the nation’s cybersecurity following a series of high-profile attacks on the country’s infrastructure over the last year. The Department of Homeland Security has released new requirements for pipeline operators to avoid another disruption.

Another bill introduced this week would require private operators of critical infrastructure to report when they are the victim of a cyberattack directly to CISA within 24 hours of discovering it.

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