New bill would make some companies report cyberattacks to government

U.S. Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia and Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, holds a listening to about worldwide threats, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, April 14, 2021.

Saul Loeb | Pool | Reuters

A brand new bill unveiled Wednesday would make some companies inform the government once they’ve been hacked.

The bipartisan Cyber Incident Notification Act is a response to the current attacks on SolarWinds, which impacted government businesses, and Colonial Pipeline, which disrupted entry to gasoline throughout a big area of the nation. Since then, ransomware assaults — the place hackers encrypt recordsdata till a sufferer pays a ransom — have proliferated.

The downside is, beneath federal regulation, companies haven’t got to report these assaults. That means some assaults could happen with out the government understanding, which might have critical implications if the government’s personal programs are affected by the hack.

The proposed bill would introduce a brand new disclosure requirement for federal businesses, federal contractors and significant infrastructure companies to notify the Department of Homeland Security once they determine a breach of their programs. It additionally provides these companies restricted immunity once they report a breach — for example, shareholders couldn’t achieve entry to the disclosed data to use as proof in a lawsuit. It additionally would require DHS to anonymize personally identifiable data. That method, companies can report incidents shortly and permit the government to act effectively the place wanted.

Bringing cyberattacks to gentle

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., Vice Chairman Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and senior member Susan Collins, R-Maine, led the laws, which responds to issues they heard at an earlier listening to in regards to the SolarWinds assault.

At the listening to, Microsoft President Brad Smith testified that the one motive the government and public had been conscious of the hack was as a result of cybersecurity agency FireEye reported what it believed to be a state-sponsored assault by itself programs in December. After that disclosure, Reuters reported on a doubtlessly adversary-linked hack into U.S. businesses via SolarWinds software program updates. Sources later informed Reuters that assault was linked to the FireEye intrusion.

The assault confirmed lawmakers simply how simply they may have been left at nighttime on a significant government hack. It additionally revealed the obstacles companies face when deciding whether or not to report a cyberattack.

FireEye CEO Kevin Mandia informed CNBC’s Eamon Javers in an interview on the time of that listening to that disclosure is “a damn complex issue.”

“The reason it’s a complex issue is because of all the liabilities companies face when they go public about a disclosure,” Mandia mentioned. “They have shareholder lawsuits, they have lots of considerations of business impact. You also don’t want to unnecessarily create a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt.”

The new bill goals to ease that concern for companies by introducing the restricted legal responsibility safety. When Warner teased the legislation in June, he mentioned he believed the enterprise group would be receptive to it.

“When we had this debate six or seven years ago, the business community did not want any additional mandatory reporting,” he mentioned on the time. “I think they now realize that they themselves are put in jeopardy if they don’t have mandatory reporting.”

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WATCH: How the massive SolarWinds hack went down

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