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Monday, January 24, 2022

Designed to prepare for cyberattacks, a panel gets its job done

WASHINGTON — A commission created by Congress to develop a more strategic approach to cyberattack defense lights up Tuesday, ending two-and-a-half years of work on policy recommendations, legislative pushes and more about malware, ransomware and other threats. Is.

When the Cybersecurity Solarium Commission issued its first recommendations in March 2020, after a year of research and writing, its members vowed that the panel would operate differently from other Blue Ribbon Washington exercises. Senator Angus King, independent from Maine and co-chair of the commission, said the recommendations would not be dusty on the shelf like many other well-crafted panels.

The commission was named after the Eisenhower administration’s Project Solarium, which developed new policies for the Cold War. Influential members of the House and Senate Armed Services committees lead the commission, allowing cybersecurity recommendations to be packaged as legislation included in one of the few policy bills to be passed each year: the annual National Defense Authorization Act.

“This is an example that I think was genius – and I can say that because it was not my idea – instead of simply issuing a report with recommendations we had Congressional committees drafting the entirety, formulating legislation.” did,” said Mr. King.

Congress originally scheduled the commission’s expiration for the end of 2020, but extended its work for an additional year. During that time, Mr King said, about half of the panel’s recommendations have been implemented, most through legislation but some through executive branch actions.

The commission closes with notable successes, such as the creation of a national cyber director at the White House and measures to strengthen the cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency’s powers, as well as provisions in this year’s defense bill, including revised requirements. Response planning for government officials and more drills and exercises.

Some key initiatives remain unfinished, with the details of the law yet to be worked out or the arguments over Congress’s jurisdiction are yet to be settled.

“We’ve been clear about the fact that there’s some great work that still needs to be done, that hasn’t been done,” said Representative Mike Gallagher, a Wisconsin Republican and the commission’s other co-chair.

The commission developed a proposal for a bill that would identify systemically critical infrastructure. Businesses – such as Colonial Pipeline, which was hit by a ransomware attack in May – that play a key role in the economy will be given special assistance to improve their cyber security. In return, however, they will have additional security requirements and will share additional information with the government.

More hearings with the House Homeland Security Committee will be necessary before legislation can move forward, as lawmakers discuss the details of liability protection and how to oversee the security of cloud computing providers and other industries.

Mr Gallagher, who has over the past two years emerged as a rising star among members of his party focused on making laws, said he wants to pass additional measures that require the federal government to Companies and institutions operating critical infrastructure would be required to report intrusions or attacks.

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“We believe that Congress should authorize the Department of Homeland Security to establish requirements for critical infrastructure entities to report cyber incidents to the federal government,” Gallagher said. “But we couldn’t make it across the finish line.”

The committee also developed proposals for a “joint collaborative environment” on cyber threats that would enhance information sharing between private companies and the government. While government officials say they have taken steps in that direction, private companies say there are still too many barriers to information sharing – and commission members agree.

Right now, Gallagher said, the federal government does not have the infrastructure to share data with agencies and private businesses. He said that the mindset should also change.

“It’s a question of how do you change the culture of the intelligence community, such that they are actively willing to share things with the private sector, as opposed to simply submitting information or soliciting information,” Gallagher said. .

Some legislative proposals – such as the establishment of a national cyber director – were fiercely debated, but the panel largely avoided partisan battles.

“I’ve put more time and energy into this project than anything else I’ve done in the Senate. And I didn’t want to waste that time and energy,” said Mr. King, who syncs with Democrats.

Mr Gallagher and Mr King said they hope their remaining major legislation can move through Congress next year.

The commission’s executive director, Mark Montgomery, said that as long as the commission ends, lawmakers and other members will continue to work with a new non-profit group.

He said the nonprofit will continue to research those initiatives, and members and their staff will insist on Congress’s action. It will also be a resource for researchers and scholars examining policy problems and solutions, with a host of Commission reports and papers on a variety of topics.

Previous efforts to improve the approach to cybersecurity have run out of steam. But Mr Montgomery said the nonprofit may be able to keep pace, at least for a while, while maintaining the commission’s annual assessment report.

The nonprofit, Mr. Montgomery said, will also have a variation of the commission’s name with a new website that will be up and running in the new year.

“I went and bought it for $12 cybersolarium.org,” said Mr. Montgomery. “So we have to go from Solarium.gov to CyberSolarium.org. But that’s Rs.12 I was willing to spend.”

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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