April 18, 2011

Whitehouse, Kyl Introduce Legislation to Enhance Cyber Security

Washington, DC – Cyber attacks on American businesses, consumers, government agencies, and critical infrastructure have dramatically increased in recent years. However, the American people have not been provided appropriate information on the scale and sophistication of the cyber threat and the risks it poses to our national and economic security. To address this problem, U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) today introduced the Cyber Security Public Awareness Act of 2011, which would improve public access to information on cyber attacks.

“Every year, cyber attacks inflict vast damage on our nation’s consumers, businesses, and government agencies, but they have not received the attention they deserve,” said Whitehouse, who last year chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Cyber Task Force. “Congress needs to act in a number of areas to improve cyber security. One important element of this effort will be to ensure that we are properly informed going forward about the cyber threats posed by criminals, terrorists, and hostile nations.”

In recent years, cyber attacks have resulted in the loss of countless American jobs; the theft of millions of Americans’ identities; the loss of billions of dollars of intellectual property; vulnerability of critical infrastructure to sabotage; and intrusions into sensitive government networks.

The Cyber Security Public Awareness Act would enhance public awareness by instituting new reporting requirements on cyber threats. The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense would be required to submit annual reports to Congress on attacks on federal networks; the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation would be required to submit annual reports on investigations of cyber crime; and the Department of Homeland Security would be required to report on other impediments to appropriate public awareness of common cyber security threats. Additionally, the bill includes provisions to enhance awareness of threats against our nation’s electric grid and other critical infrastructure, telecommunications supply chain, publicly traded businesses, and individual internet users.

This legislation follows a hearing Whitehouse and Kyl held yesterday in the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism to examine cyber threats.


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