Bipartisan legislation introduced in the Senate Friday would create a federal program to bolster response to cyberattacks in states by installing cybersecurity coordinators.

Under the Cybersecurity
State Coordinator Act
, sponsored by Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Gary Peters, D-Mich.,
John Cornyn, R-Texas and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, the program would fall under the
umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and
Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and would facilitate threat information-sharing
as well as boost coordination between state and federal governments.

Saying that the
federal government should “do more to ensure that state and local entities have
the resources and training that they need to prevent and respond to
cyberattacks,” Hassan explained in a statement that the legislation would be a big
step “in improving communication between the federal government, states, and
localities, as well as strengthening cybersecurity preparedness in communities
across the country.”

Noting that
recent cyberattacks like the “ransomware attack on New Orleans — have begun to
qualify as national emergencies, exposing the ever-shifting cybersecurity
threat landscape and revealing to the public the dangerous commitment of modern
hackers,” Paul Martini, CEO and co-founder of iboss, said, “governments at all
levels are finally understanding the seriousness of this threat and the need to
cooperate.” The bad guys are always changing methods and can even support each
other by trading tips and the latest malware on the dark web. This legislation
is a good first step by the government to embrace the same sort of coordination
to combat those evolving threats.”