Senators Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) last week reintroduced legislation directing the Department of Homeland Security to create teams that would help other federal agencies and the private sector in responding to cyber incidents and identifying potential risks.
The DHS Cyber Hunt and Incident Response Teams Act (S. 315) would make the cyber hunt and incident response teams permanent.
“By encouraging the private sector and the Department of Homeland Security’s cyber response teams to work together, this legislation will foster collaboration between the best minds in the field of cyber security to help find off cyber-attacks and protect vital infrastructure,” Hassan said in a statement.
The bill was introduced on Jan. 31 and is included on the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s list of legislation to be considered. The bill was introduced last year by Hassan and Portman and reported out of committee in early December.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and now ranking member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, last year introduced a companion bill in the House.
Hassan and Portman said their bill authorizes the DHS cyber teams to assist owners and operators of critical infrastructure in restoring services after a cyber incident, develop mitigation strategies to prevent, deter and protect against cyber threats, provide recommendations to owners and operators to improve their network security, and identify potential cyber intrusions and risk to DHS partners.
The press release issued by the senators says the authorities would be given to the DHS National Protection and Programs Directorate, which is now the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
Last year, Hassan and Portman were successful in getting two of their bipartisan cyber security bills passed into law. The Hack DHS Act requires DHS to use “white hat” hackers to probe for vulnerabilities on the department’s networks and the Public-Private Cybersecurity Cooperation Act that requires the department to disclose vulnerabilities on its networks.