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Tuesday, January 25th, 2022

Bill addresses cyber incident response planning

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Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) introduced legislation last week that would require the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to assess its cyber incident response plans and procedures.

The DHS Roles and Responsibilities in Cyber Space Act’s original co-sponsors were three members of the House Committee on Homeland Security: U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY), committee vice chairman; U.S. Rep. John Katko (R-NY), ranking committee Republican; and U.S. Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), ranking Republican of the Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation Subcommittee.

“Americans are alarmed at the dramatic increase in cyber-attacks on private companies, including the recent ransomware attacks on Colonial Pipeline and the JBS meatpacking facility in Nebraska,” Bacon said. “The federal response to these cyber incidents was inadequate and exposed gaps and confusion in how we defend our critical infrastructure.”

The attack on Colonial Pipeline in May 2021 served as the largest cyberattack on energy infrastructure in the nation’s history, resulting in gasoline and aviation fuel delivery disruptions throughout the Southeast.

Shortly after the Colonial Pipeline attack, JBS, the world’s largest meat supplier, was forced to suspend operations at nine domestic processing facilities following a ransomware attack.

“It’s clear that our cyber incident response framework must evolve to match the threat,” Bacon said. “This bill will set the conditions for improvements in our national cyber defenses by requiring the Secretary of Homeland Security to conduct a thorough review of its cyber incident response plans, including how it works with private sector entities and provide recommendations for improvement.”