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Senators Ready Bills To Beef Up Cybersecurity
Deciding not to wait for the Obama administration to complete a 60-day review of the nation's cybersecurity policy, Senators John D. Rockefeller (D-WV) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) have drafted two bills to create a top advisory post in the White House, establish a cybersecurity advisory board and push companies to improve their network security, SecurityFocus learned on Wednesday.
One bill would create the Office of the National Cybersecurity Advisor in the White House, which would be tasked with advising the president on long-term strategies for securing the United States' Internet and critical infrastructure, according to a copy seen by SecurityFocus. The other, more comprehensive bill — titled the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 — would take unprecedented measures to firm up the nation's cybersecurity posture, such as establishing a cybersecurity advisory panel of outside experts to advise the White House, creating a real-time information system under the Department of Commerce to track the security status of federal systems, and requiring the licensing of cybersecurity professionals.
The act would make it unlawful for "any individual to engage in business in the United States, or to be employed in the United States, as a provider of cybersecurity services to any Federal agency or an information system or network designated by the President, or the Presidents designee, as a critical infrastructure information system or network, who is not licensed and certified under the program," according to a draft of the legislation.
Language that would give the cyber czar the ability to shut down government and private networks, if a cyber attack is under way, appears to be absent from the bills.
The White House is currently reviewing the nation's current policies for defending cyberspace and plans to propose any changes to U.S. cybersecurity initiatives by the end of April. Melissa Hathaway, a top intel official and cyber expert, is leading the review, which is expected to recommend that a top cyber advisory post be created in the White House. Many of the sought-after recommendations are part of a report created by an independent body of experts and released last December.
Among its other provisions, the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 would require that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) continue to develop cybersecurity standards, boost research and development and force the adoption of a standard for securing the domain-name system.
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Posted by: Robert Lemos