Hassan co-sponsors bill to improve cybersecurity across levels of government

Legislation would expand Homeland Security resources to thwart cyberattacks
U.S. Sen.Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan has reintroduced a bill with Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) that would update and improve federal agencies’ cybersecurity as well as make additional resources available to state and local government.

The bipartisan Advancing Cybersecurity Continuing Diagnostics and Mitigation Act was first introduced last congressional session, focusing on federal agencies.

This year’s bill also requires the Department of Homeland Security to make resources available to state and local governments to further guard against cyberattacks.

Hassan’s office says the bill would help entities like Strafford County strengthen their cyber defenses. Earlier this month, Senator Hassan was briefed by Strafford County officials on a cyberattack that occurred in late June. Approximately 500 Strafford County computers were impacted by ransomware believed to have been sent from a foreign nation, according to officials. Fortunately, it appears no persona records have been affected, and no ransom was paid.

“As we saw just recently in Strafford County, New Hampshire, cyberattacks pose a real and growing threat to everything from local nursing homes to our national security,” said Senator Hassan. “These threats are constantly evolving, and I’m glad to join Senator Cornyn in reintroducing this bipartisan bill, which not only requires the Department of Homeland Security to monitor and address cybersecurity vulnerabilities as they arise, but also ensures that these resources are available to state and local governments in New Hampshire and across the country.”

The bill would enact into law the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation Program, run through the Department of Homeland Security, which is meant to provide a suite of cyber capabilities to provide real-time, continuous monitoring of the networks of federal agencies.

“Cyber-attacks on government networks are increasing in frequency and sophistication, so updating the programs and tools federal agencies use to thwart these attempts is critical,” Senator Cornyn said. “By codifying the CDM program and providing congressional oversight, we can ensure the federal government is better prepared for cyber threats.”

Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation introduced by Senator Hassan and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to bolster cybersecurity by requiring DHS to make permanent the “cyber hunt” and “cyber incident response” teams that work to help prevent cyberattacks on federal agencies and the private sector, and help mitigate the impact of such attacks when they occur.

Categories: Government