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Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Congress passes cyber defense bills

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A pair of cyber security bills introduced by U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) advanced the Senate last week and will now head to the president’s desk for signature.

Both bills aim to strengthen the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) cyber defenses, establishing both the Hack DHS Act and the Public-Private Cybersecurity Cooperation Act to do so. The former would create a bug bounty pilot program that uses hackers to identify potential vulnerabilities in the DHS networks. The second measure would supplement it by requiring the creation of a cyber-vulnerabilities disclosure program, allowing easier reporting of vulnerabilities.

“At a time when cyber threats are on the rise, I’m pleased that the United States government will be better prepared to protect itself thanks to this bipartisan cybersecurity legislation I worked on with Senator Hassan,” Portman said. “Our legislation draws upon the vast expertise of hackers and security experts in our country to identify vulnerabilities and report them to the people in positions to fix those flaws in our systems.”

Hassan added that the Hack DHS Act represents a critical step for advancing defenses, and will help protect citizens.