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Friday, March 5th, 2021

House approves bill aiming to secure industrial control systems against cyberattacks

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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would be directed to secure information and operational technologies used in critical applications to address vulnerabilities under a bill approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday.

The DHS Industrial Control Systems Capabilities Enhancement Act, H.R. 5774, would expand responsibilities of the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center to address current vulnerabilities and to identify and mitigate threats and vulnerabilities going forward.

U.S. Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE), the bill’s author, warned that the “next Pearl Harbor attack” will include both missiles and attacks on private-sector functions like the electric grid that support daily life.

“DHS provides critical support to operators of industrial control systems (ICS), and my bill clarifies this responsibility so the department can continue to identify and address threats to ICS in critical infrastructure,” Bacon said. “Any disruption or damage to critical infrastructure has the potential to cause catastrophic consequences to our nation’s public health and safety, economic security, and national security.”

The bill stipulates that ICS should address vulnerabilities in technologies used in the automated control of critical infrastructure by mitigating cybersecurity threats to industrial control systems, ensuring cross-sector incident response capabilities and providing technical assistance to stakeholders.