House advances cybersecurity bills following hacking by pipeline company
The House National Security Committee on Tuesday advanced several laws focused on cybersecurity and pipeline security laws following the ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline and the publication of President Joe’s cybersecurity executive order Biden.
The bill section approved by the committee includes the “Pipeline Safety Act” which codifies the role of the Transportation Security Administration in the security of the country’s natural gas and oil infrastructure. The bill, which has been introduced previously but has not gained strength in recent years, was reintroduced after the disruptive cyberattack on a key east coast pipeline.
Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Chair of the Senate Committee on Trade, Science and Transportation, sent a letter to National Security Department Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas after the incident to highlight issues related to oversight of pipeline infrastructure by TSA. The Federal Energy Regulation Commission, one of several entities Cantwell noted has “key functions” on the issue, has explicitly pushed lawmakers in the past to expand its own authorities on natural gas pipelines.
Colonial Pipeline CEO Joseph Blount confirmed the company paid a $ 4.4 million ransom to Darkside after the commitment, according to several news reports. Blount defended his company’s actions as “right” for the country, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
The House group also passed the “State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act,” introduced by Rep. Yvette Clarke (DN.Y.), which would authorize a $ 500 million grant program to help state governments. , local, tribal and territorial to harden their networks. This funding would add to the $ 650 million the Security and Cybersecurity Agency received through the U.S. Rescue Plan Act, which according to CISA officials will be helped by staff teams to help local governments around the world. country.
The group advanced bills to authorize CISA to assist critical infrastructure owners and operators with mitigation strategies, as well as establish a “National Cyber Exercise” program within the agency to promote critical infrastructure resilience assessments against attacks.
A bill from committee ranking representative John Katko (RN.Y.) would allow DHS to investigate U.S. supply chain risks. Two other bills, also passed Tuesday, are aimed at strengthening DHS’s human trafficking prevention efforts, as well as the agency’s medical countermeasures in the event of a disaster.
Justin Katz covers cybersecurity for FCW. He previously covered the Navy and Marine Corps for Home Defense, focusing on weapons, vehicle acquisition, and Pentagon oversight in Congress. Prior to reporting from Inside Defense, Katz covered community news in the Baltimore and Washington DC areas. Connect with him on Twitter at @JustinSKatz.