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New Bill Would Boost Cyber Sharing Between DHS and States

by Chris Brook on Thursday May 19, 2022

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If passed, the legislation would promote stronger cybersecurity collaboration between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and state and local governments.

Yet another cybersecurity-focused bill looks like it's poised to be signed into law.

The legislation, the State and Local Government Cybersecurity Act, passed the Senate in January and passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday. From here, it just needs the President Joe Biden's signature.

The legislation would amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and as the name suggests, facilitate sharing between state, local, and tribal governments when it comes to cybersecurity. For example, federal cybersecurity officials would be required to share breach data with states and provide resources to help them prevent and recover from a cyberattack.

One aim of the legislation is asking for more assistance from the Department of Homeland Security’s Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) when it comes to providing cybersecurity training to SLTT entities on cyber threat indicators, defensive measures, cybersecurity risks, vulnerabilities, and incident response and management. It would also help provide information around tools, products, and other resources that SLTT entities can use in their fight.

Assuming it's passed, the legislation will also require DHS to submit a report to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives on how the program has helped SLTTs.

The legislation is being sponsored by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.).

“As we’ve seen from the many recent cyberattacks, hackers with malicious intent can and do attack state and local cyber infrastructure. Sometimes, state and local governments need some additional help or access to expertise to address these threats,” Sen. Portman said Wednesday, “That’s why I’m pleased the House passed this bipartisan bill to strengthen an existing relationship between the Department of Homeland Security and state and local partners to improve coordination and information sharing to help protect our IT infrastructure at all levels of government.”

Given the White House's actions around cybersecurity issues so far, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the legislation signed off on sooner than later.

Since issuing last May's Executive Order on Improving the Nation's Cybersecurity, the White House has pushed organizations to bolster their overall cybersecurity defenses - CISA's Shields-Up campaign is a good example here - urged industry partners to improve the supply chain security, and improve cybersecurity for critical infrastructure control systems.

Tags:  Government

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