Legislation Promoting Cyber Collaboration Between DHS and States Awaits Biden Signature

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The legislation would improve information sharing between federal cybersecurity authorities and state and local governments.

Having cleared the Senate in January, the State and Local Government Cybersecurity Act passed the House Tuesday and now awaits President Joe Biden’s signature.

The bill updates the House Homeland Security Act to direct the Department of Homeland Security to improve information sharing and coordination with state, local and tribal governments—all of which face growing risks of cyberattack. The legislation requires federal cybersecurity officials to share cybersecurity threat, vulnerability and breach data with states and localities, and provide some recovery resources when attacks occur.

“State and local governments in Michigan and across the nation continue to be targeted by cybercriminals and other malicious actors,” Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., said in a statement. “These attacks can prevent access to essential services, compromise sensitive and personal information, and disrupt our daily lives and livelihood. This commonsense legislation will strengthen coordination between all levels of government and give local officials in Michigan and across the country additional tools and resources to combat cyber-attacks.”

Peters sponsored the legislation in the Senate with Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

“As we’ve seen from the many recent cyberattacks, hackers with malicious intent can and do attack state and local cyber infrastructure. Sometimes, state and local governments need some additional help or access to expertise to address these threats,” Portman said.

The legislation specifically requires the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to provide state and local governments with access to better cybersecurity tools and policies, and calls for joint cybersecurity exercises to run at those levels of government. CISA must develop a strategy to set baseline objectives for state and local cyber efforts, and the bill further establishes a $500 million cost-sharing grant program through DHS to increase cyber funding with state and local governments.