Tags: Cybersecurity | statedept | cybersecurity | hack | russia | china

House Passes State Department Cybersecurity Legislation

House Passes State Department Cybersecurity Legislation
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Tuesday, 20 April 2021 10:18 PM

The House on Tuesday approved bipartisan legislation designed to enhance cybersecurity at the State Department, reported the Hill.

The legislation enhances cybersecurity by prioritizing and reorganizing a key department in the aftermath of multiple major foreign cyberattacks against the United States. 

The Cyber Diplomacy Act requires the State Department to open a Bureau of International Cyberspace Policy to better manage those issues.

The director of the new bureau is appointed by the president and given the rank of ambassador, who then reports directly to either the secretary of state or a deputy secretary, reported the Hill.

The Cyber Diplomacy Act, reestablished in February, was previously approved by the House during the last Congress. After a vote of 355-69 by the House, it was authorized Tuesday as part of a larger package of bills.

The Bureau of International Cyberspace Policy would take the lead on the State Department’s cybersecurity efforts including setting of standards on responsible conduct in cyberspace as well as jointly working with other nations on important cybersecurity issues.

Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., said in a statement released following the Tuesday vote that ''as the United States confronts increasingly bold challenges from adversaries in cyberspace, designing and implementing a whole-of-government response strategy — in close coordination with the international community — is an urgent matter of national security.'' He added that he hoped the Senate would ''act with the same speed'' as the House did in passing the legislation, reports the Hill. 

The act is primarily sponsored by House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Michael McCaul, R-Texas, with co-sponsors include committee Chairman Gregory Meeks D-N.Y. and Reps. Langevin, Mike Gallagher R-Wis., Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., and Bill Keating D-Mass, reports the Hill. 

''This feels long overdue,'' McCaul said on the House floor. ''To me, it is the last piece in terms of our cyber role in the federal government, now taking it to the international stage with our allies around the world.''

After the Biden administration announced sanctions against Russia for its interference in U.S. elections and its involvement in the recent SolarWinds hack, the act was passed by the House in less than a week.

The Russian SolarWinds hack affected at least nine federal agencies and 100 private sector groups. 

The act is also a U.S. response to what is thought to be Chinese government sponsored hacking and exploitation of vulnerabilities within Microsoft’s Exchange Server application, occurring approximately a month prior, reports the Hill.

Langevin said that better collaboration with associated nations was needed to better effectively respond to foreign cyberattacks.

''The firm response to Russian destabilization efforts is welcome, but unfortunately, coordination with our closest allies was lacking,'' Langevin said. ''Moving forward, a Bureau of International Cyberspace Policy at the State Department will empower our diplomatic corps to ensure like-minded nations speak with one voice in the face of norms-busting behavior.''

Gallagher also pushed for the Senate to "quickly act" on the legislation. 

"In an increasingly connected world, we must have the proper structures in place to promote our values and interests in cyberspace," Gallagher said in a statement Tuesday night. 

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Politics
The House on Tuesday approved bipartisan legislation designed to enhance cybersecurity at the State Department, reported the Hill. The legislation enhances cybersecurity by prioritizing and reorganizing a key department in the aftermath of multiple major foreign cyberattacks...
statedept, cybersecurity, hack, russia, china
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2021-18-20
Tuesday, 20 April 2021 10:18 PM
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