Last week, the House passed the National Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act and two other bills addressing U.S. cybersecurity threats. In broad terms, these pieces of legislation would systematize the Department of Homeland Security’s cyber-threat response procedure, and allow the DHS and members of the private sector to share attack information as it occurs. The bills also include liability protection measures for companies that share cybersecurity data with the federal government.
A government-industry partnership represents a major development in the fight against cybercrime, which has escalated this year. As hackers launch high-profile attacks against corporations such eBay, P.F. Chang’s, and Domino’s, small businesses are no less vulnerable. In a survey of small business owners last year, the National Small Business Association reports that 44 percent have suffered at least one cyberattack, with damages averaging nearly $10,000.
Hackers exploit weaknesses in credit card systems and unsecured network connections. Attacks often take the form of extortion: following a breach, the perpetrator will steal customer data to ransom back to the victim.
By regulating the flow of information from the National Security Administration (NSA) and private companies, the House’s proposed legislation could bolster small businesses’ cyber defenses. In addition, the bill’s proposed expanded liability protections for technology providers could spur more companies to invest in cybersecurity products and services.
To read the full text of these measures, click the links below:
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