US Senators launch new push for cybersecurity bill
Posted in: Legal, Privacy & Security at 15/02/2012 16:23
Leading senators introduced a cybersecurity bill on Tuesday aimed at safeguarding the nation's water and power systems, which experts have warned often only have the most rudimentary protections against hackers.
Senators John Rockefeller and Dianne Feinstein, both Democrats; Susan Collins, a Republican, and Joseph Lieberman, an independent, drafted a comprehensive bill that would require the secretary of homeland security to designate certain infrastructure as critical and compel steps to safeguard against hackers.
Senators Introduce Security Bill and Warn of Hacker Threat
Want swift action on a complicated, contentious piece of legislation aimed at guarding against hackers? Invoke Sept. 11.
That's the lesson to be learned from the rhetoric around the long-awaited online security legislation introduced in the Senate on Tuesday.
Senate cybersecurity bill leaves Internet alone, exempts tech companies from oversight
The Senate Homeland Security Committee has introduced the broad cybersecurity legislation promised late last year by Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV). But contrary to the fears of many -- or perhaps because of them -- the bill's scope is tightly restrained, excluding the vast majority of commercial systems and Internet infrastructure itself from coverage.
In many ways, the 205-page Senate bill, called the Cyber Security Act of 2012, incorporates many of the aspects of the House's cybersecurity bill, introduced in December. If enacted, it would grant a new authority to the Department of Homeland Security to oversee government information security measures, and to set "cybersecurity performance requirements" for companies and organizations that own systems DHS designates as "critical infrastructure."
Cybersecurity Bill in U.S. Senate Seeks Industry Rules to Thwart Hackers
Companies running computer networks essential to U.S. economic and national security would be required to better defend their systems from spies, hackers and terrorists under bipartisan Senate legislation unveiled today.
The bill calls for identifying vital information networks and setting security requirements for companies and government agencies. Lawmakers and regulators say rules are needed to fight increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks capable of disrupting power grids, banks and communications networks.
The Post's View: A cyber risk to the U.S.
In a recent briefing to Congress about worldwide threats, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III said that the danger of cyberattacks will equal or surpass the danger of terrorism "in the foreseeable future." What makes that assessment particularly alarming is that the United States may be as unprepared to defend some of its critical computer systems as it was to protect New York and Washington against al-Qaeda before Sept. 11, 2001.
Though the Pentagon has a cybercommand, it does not cover the domestic civilian economy, including vital infrastructure systems such as the electric power grid, water supplies and the financial system. Many of the computers controlling those utilities lack adequate security measures and could be devastated by viruses launched by hostile states or even hackers. As it is, U.S. companies, from defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin to e-mail carriers such as Google, are under continual assault from China and Russia, which seek to steal industrial or national security secrets and probe for infrastructure weaknesses.