Cybersecurity is a multifaceted discipline, but naturally, the technical aspect gets a lot of airtime. One common mental image is keyboard warrior savants playing an impossibly complicated game with genius hackers.
Technology is just a part of the picture, however. Some people who have never touched a line of code still hold critical roles.
The federal government is one key player with an outsized effect on the state of cybersecurity. Cybersecurity bills are introduced into Congress regularly. And legislation can change the entire landscape for companies and agencies trying to keep their networks secure.
To get an idea of where security is headed, it pays to look toward the nation’s capital. Here, we’ll look at a few cybersecurity bills that the House of Representatives and Senate are currently considering.
5 Cybersecurity Bills in the Halls of Congress
Protect American Voters Act: “PAVA” is one of the most recent cybersecurity bills introduced in Congress. The bill essentially aims to protect voter information by adding guidelines on “non-voting technology” that didn’t exist when the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) was passed in 2002. Among other things, it would create an Election Cyber Assistance Unit within the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) that would “provide State and local election officials in various geographic regions of the United States with access to risk-management, resiliency, and technical support services provided by election administration and cybersecurity experts.” This bill was introduced in January 2020 and was referred to the Committee on House Administration, as well as to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
For the People Act: Election security has been a hot topic for some time but really kicked into high gear amid foreign meddling concerns in 2016. The For the People Act calls for intelligence sharing and support for state election offices, and proposes establishing a national commission aimed at protecting the security of democratic institutions. It also includes provisions designed to evaluate and improve the cybersecurity of America’s election systems. The bill passed through the House in March 2019 but has since been held up after two readings in the Senate.
State and Local Government Cybersecurity Act: This cybersecurity bill would set the conditions for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to step into security affairs concerning non-federal entities, as the DHS secretary deems necessary. This measure arose, in part, as a response to the increasing concern over large-scale ransomware attacks over the past two years. This passed through the Senate in November 2019, Passed in the Senate in November 2019, the bill currently is assigned to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Cyber Diplomacy Act: International cybersecurity is an ongoing concern for the federal government, too. Potential security risks introduced by foreign apps has been a hot topic, as has the ever-present risk of foreign cyber espionage. The Cyber Diplomacy Act attempts to address foreign cybersecurity issues through establishment of a new entity: the Office of International Cyberspace Policy, which would be part of the Department of State. The legislation was introduced in the House in January 2019. The Committee on Foreign Affairs agreed to seek consideration under suspension of the rules in March 2019.
Cybersecurity Vulnerability Remediation Act: This bill would effectively empower DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to provide “playbooks” for addressing cyber vulnerabilities to other government agencies, as well as the broader public. It also would allow the DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate to create an incentive program for private businesses and individuals to develop fixes for cybersecurity vulnerabilities. The House passed the bill in September 2019. It was referred to the Senate’s Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs in November.
These aren’t the only cybersecurity bills currently making the rounds in Washington. But they paint a clear picture of the conversation going on in D.C., where ransomware, election fraud and international security top the list of concerns.
Lunarline can help your organization prepare for the cybersecurity landscape of today, as well as future-proof for what’s to come. For more information, contact us online today.