Congress might stop partisan bickering long enough to clamp down on the annual $400 billion in cyberattacks on American businesses.
A bipartisan group of senators recently introduced the Cybersecurity State Coordinator Act, which would require every state to have a cybersecurity coordinator who would work with all levels of government to prevent and respond to cyberattacks.
“Cyberattacks can be devastating for communities across our country, from ransomware attacks that can block access to school or medical records to cyberattacks that can shut down electrical grids or banking services,” Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), a co-sponsor of the bill, said in a statement.
“Cybersecurity for state and local governments is just as important as federal cybersecurity, and frequently, they lack the resources, technical know-how and situational awareness to secure their systems,” Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), also a bill co-sponsor, said upon its introduction in January.
In the House of Representatives, Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) has offered a bill called the Hact Act that would remove the immunity of foreign governments responsible for cyberattacks.
“The threat is real,” Kim said, “because we’re seeing people’s lives ruined and businesses endangered at the hands of foreign-sponsored cyberattacks. These attacks aren’t going away. What we see today is only the tip of iceberg.”
A cybersecurity expert thinks the proposals are good.
“We are very supportive of these bills,” said Kelvin Coleman, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. He warned the problem could expand: “Billions more new connected devices will be coming on line over the next five years.”