The USA is considering legislation that would protect local governments by requiring the appointment of a cybersecurity leader for each state.
Backers of the Cybersecurity State Coordinator Act of 2020 say the proposed law will improve intelligence sharing between state and federal governments and speed up incident response times in the event of a cyber-attack.
Under the legislation, the director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency would be tasked with appointing an employee of the agency in each state to serve as cybersecurity state coordinator.
Money to create these positions would come from the federal government, which would be required to ring-fence the necessary funding.
The role of each state coordinator would be multifaceted, combining elements of training, advisory work, and program development.
Each leader would serve as a principal federal cybersecurity risk advisor, coordinating efforts to prepare for, respond to, and remediate cyber-attacks. Another core responsibility would be to raise awareness of the financial, technical, and operational resources available to nonfederal entities from the federal government.
Coordinators would be expected to support training, exercises, and planning for continuity of operations to expedite as swift a recovery as possible from cybersecurity incidents. Furthermore, they would be called on to assist nonfederal entities in developing and coordinating vulnerability disclosure programs consistent with federal and information security industry standards.
“State, local, Tribal, and territorial entities face a growing threat from advanced persistent threat actors, hostile nation states, criminal groups, and other malicious cyber actors,” reads the bill. “There is an urgent need for greater engagement and expertise from the Federal Government to help these entities build their resilience and defenses.”
The bill, which has attracted bi-partisan support, was introduced by Senators Maggie Hassan and Gary Peters and is co-sponsored by senators John Cornyn of Texas and Rob Portman of Ohio.
Portman said: “This bipartisan bill, which creates a cybersecurity state coordinator position, would help bolster state and local governments’ cybersecurity by facilitating their relationship with the federal government to ensure they know what preventative resources are available to them as well as who to turn to if an attack occurs.”
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