From the White House: This legislative proposal is the latest achievement in the steady stream of progress we are making in securing cyberspace and completes another near-term action item identified in the Cyberspace Policy Review. . . .
Protecting our Nation’s Critical Infrastructure
Our safety and way of life depend upon our critical infrastructure as well as the strength of our economy. The Administration is already working to protect critical infrastructure from cyber threats, but we believe that the following legislative changes are necessary to fully protect this infrastructure:
1)Voluntary Government Assistance to Industry, States, and Local Government. Organizations that suffer a cyber intrusion often ask the Federal Government for assistance with fixing the damage and for advice on building better defenses. For example, organizations sometimes ask DHS to help review their computer logs to see when a hacker broke in. However the lack of a clear statutory framework describing DHS’s authorities has sometimes slowed the ability of DHS to help the requesting organization. The Administration proposal will enable DHS to quickly help a private-sector company, state, or local government when that organization asks for its help. It also clarifies the type of assistance that DHS can provide to the requesting organization.
2)Voluntary Information Sharing with Industry, States, and Local Government.Businesses, states, and local governments sometimes identify new types of computer viruses or other cyber threats or incidents, but they are uncertain about whether they can share this information with the Federal Government. The Administration proposal makes clear that these entities can share information about cyber threats or incidents with DHS. To fully address these entities’ concerns, it provides them with immunity when sharing cybersecurity information with DHS. At the same time, the proposal mandates robust privacy oversight to ensure that the voluntarily shared information does not impinge on individual privacy and civil liberties.
3)Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity Plans. . . . The Administration proposal requires DHS to work with industry to identify the core critical-infrastructure operators and to prioritize the most important cyber threats and vulnerabilities for those operators. Critical infrastructure operators would develop their own frameworks for addressing cyber threats. Then, each critical-infrastructure operator would have a third-party, commercial auditor assess its cybersecurity risk mitigation plans. Operators who are already required to report to the Security and Exchange Commission would also have to certify that their plans are sufficient. A summary of the plan would be accessible, in order to facilitate transparency and to ensure that the plan is adequate. In the event that the process fails to produce strong frameworks, DHS, working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, could modify a framework. DHS can also work with firms to help them shore up plans that are deemed insufficient by commercial auditors. . . .
Our Nation is at risk. The cybersecurity vulnerabilities in our government and critical infrastructure are a risk to national security, public safety, and economic prosperity. The Administration has responded to Congress’ call for input on the cybersecurity legislation that our Nation needs, and we look forward to engaging with Congress as they move forward on this issue.