US Senate in new cybersecurity push

Feb 15, 2012 by Chris Lefkow
US Senator Joseph Lieberman, pictured here in 2011, was among lawmakers who introduced a bill aimed at protecting critical infrastructure such as power, water and transportation systems from cyberattacks.

US senators, warning of potentially catastrophic cyberattacks, introduced a bill Tuesday aimed at protecting critical infrastructure such as power, water and transportation systems.

The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 is the latest attempt by the divided to pass legislation aimed at securing government and networks from foreign cyber espionage, criminal hackers and terrorist threats.

"The nation responded after 9/11 to improve its security," said Senator Joseph Lieberman, an independent who co-sponsored the long-awaited bill.

"Now we must respond to this challenge so that a cyber 9/11 attack on America never happens," Lieberman said.

"I can't think of a more urgent issue facing this country," said Senator Jay Rockefeller, a Democratic co-sponsor. "Hackers are stealing information from , breaking into the networks of our government and and toying with the networks that power our economy.

"The new frontier in the war against terrorists is being fought online and this bill will level the playing field," Rockefeller said.

The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 would have the determine what qualifies as critical infrastructure and require compliance with a set of .

The legislation defines as critical "whose disruption from a would cause mass death, evacuation, or major damage to the economy, national security, or daily life."

The bill would encourage information-sharing about between US government agencies and the private sector and consolidate Homeland Security cybersecurity programs under a unified National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications.

"This bill would begin to arm us for battle in a war against the cyber mayhem that is being waged against us by our nation's enemies, organized , and terrorists who would use the Internet against us as surely as they turned airliners into guided missiles," Lieberman said.

Republican co-sponsor Susan Collins said the legislation is needed to "achieve the goal of improving the security of critical cyber systems and protecting our national and economic security.

"Our nation's vulnerability has already been demonstrated by the daily attempts by nation-states, cyber criminals, and hackers to penetrate our systems," Collins said.

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is to hold a hearing on the bill on Thursday.

James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, described the bill as a "really significant piece of legislation" but said "key sections of it have been diluted."

"The part that really counts is the ability to hold to mandatory standards and that's under tremendous industry pressure to have it hollowed out," said Lewis, who is scheduled to testify before the committee.

Lewis said the bill "has the best chance of any I've seen" of passage but he was "not optimistic."

The introduction of the cybersecurity bill coincided with a visit to the United States by Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, who is expected to succeed Chinese President Hu Jintao next year.

In an unusually blunt report issued in November, a US intelligence agency, the office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, said the Chinese are the world's "most active and persistent perpetrators" of economic espionage.

While acknowledging the difficulty of proving state sponsorship, the report said "US private sector firms and cybersecurity specialists have reported an onslaught of computer network intrusions that have originated in China."

China has repeatedly denied state involvement in cyber espionage against Western governments and companies, including well-publicized attacks on Internet giant Google that sparked a row between Washington and Beijing.

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Jotaf
4 / 5 (1) Feb 15, 2012
Such strong language; they're making it look like thousands of people die each ear of hacking. (facepalm)

Anyway, the part that says infrastructures should enforce security standards seems like a worthy goal.
210
5 / 5 (1) Feb 15, 2012
Such strong language; they're making it look like thousands of people die each ear of hacking. (facepalm)

Indeed, and therein lies the true source of controversy that stymies ANY attempt to contain this phantom menace. " look like thousands of people die each" Unless and until, there is unfettered and catastrophic loss of human life...'well..why bother!' Is the attitude portrayed in your statement. Hey, I give you credit, at least you had the guts-temerity/temerity-guts to write it in plain and public view where everyone for the next million years can see where you stand/stood. Meanwhile, so many experts will testify against it or go out on a limb and endorse it and it really is what so many want to hear. The experts say, "Hey fight the problem like this or that and people who feel like you just keep right on doing nothing or some limp-wristed 'something.' Nobody really has 2 change a darn thing,"Meanwhile the table cloths in Beijing have Boeing jet bomber schematics on them
NotAsleep
not rated yet Feb 15, 2012
As usual, this is Congress trying to pass a bill that aims to do things our organizations should already be doing, making the following statement extremely frightening:

Lewis said the bill "has the best chance of any I've seen" of passage but he was "not optimistic."


Congress was totally onboard with SOPA but not onboard with this? It's a totally worthless bill but at least it aims at something critically important. Congress can rally to make pizza a vegetable but can't rally to protect our infrastructure from cyber threats... unbelievable
TabulaMentis
3 / 5 (2) Feb 15, 2012
I wish US Senator Joseph Lieberman would worry more about balancing the federal budget before the U.S. goes bankrupt instead of worrying about protecting members of Congress for when America does go bankrupt.
wealthychef
5 / 5 (1) Feb 15, 2012
I don't want Congress passing laws to protect our infrastructure. they are complete idiots when it comes to technology and all they will end up doing is having their friends work on pork barrel projects that will not enhance security.
210
not rated yet Feb 15, 2012
I wish US Senator Joseph Lieberman would worry more about balancing the federal budget before the U.S. goes bankrupt instead of worrying about protecting members of Congress for when America does go bankrupt.

If you go bankrupt, if a person goes bankrupt, if a nation goes bankrupt...they STILL exist and, can come OUT of bankruptcy...oh yeah it sucks, its bad, but you CAN overcome it...if an enemy assailant thoroughly compromises your ability to function, owns your heartbeat, owns your stomach and kidneys, and prevents your brain from communicating with any of its parts, you will not be able to end your own life without their permission!!! Try to understand the analogy. The loss of money is not, NOT everything...the loss of EVERYTHING is the loss of everything, you dig?

word-to-ya-muthas
210
not rated yet Feb 15, 2012
I don't want Congress passing laws to protect our infrastructure. they are complete idiots when it comes to technology and

Rabid contempt...okay, I have seen this before and no, I do not know what you have been through. Probably seen the bad crap in your day, okay. First, assuming that everyone you hate is an "idiot" makes one vulnerable to the same condition and often underestimates an opponent to ones own ruin or demise. Now if your government is So bad, (You DID vote didn't you?) as a free American, you can always, well, move to Syria, or Greece, perhaps China. Yes, the chinese government will not say a word about writing anything to protect you from, well, THEIR OWN HACKING. Yes, make that move today my friend, oh yeah, in fact the chinese web experience is completely filtered behind the red wall; there is no mention of anything the government does not like, you, You will fit right in baby!Hey, I have two real nice Louis Vuitton Trunks U can put your stuff in!
word-
TabulaMentis
2.5 / 5 (2) Feb 15, 2012
@210:

You sound like a futuristic person with grave concerns in areas most people cannot even begin to comprehend. I know what you are talking about, but I am not sure America will ever be able to pay back the debt with artificial intelligence hitting high gear by 2030 and robotics hitting its stride by 2045. What I am saying is who is going to pay back the debt.

It costs money to pay for these programs and where is the US going to get the money to do it? Maybe the US will take away entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, etc. Maybe the US will tax the hell out of everyone. Most people will move to another country which will lower the tax revenues even further.

Worrying about where one is going to get the funds to pay for these programs should be the first concern, not last.
210
not rated yet Feb 15, 2012
@210:
I know what you are talking about, but I am not sure America will ever be able to pay back the debt with artificial intelligence hitting high gear by 2030 and robotics hitting its stride by 2045. What I am saying is who is going to pay back the debt.
It costs money to pay for these programs and where is the US going to get the money to do it? Maybe the US will take away entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, etc. Maybe the US will tax the hell out of everyone. Most people will move to another country which will lower the tax revenues even further.
Worrying about where one is going to get the funds to pay for these programs should be the first concern, not last.

Worrying? I can understand that, sure. But any concerns must not prevent us and will not stop America OF ALL NATIONS from finding a way into the "Undiscovered Country" Above, on, or beneath her shores! America is NOT a nation of blatant cowards or thoughtless politicos, if ANYONE is going to...
210
not rated yet Feb 15, 2012
cont: IS going to use those technologies you mention to foster enhanced value to human life, to increase productivity and value of her own citizens, bring about the end to the scourges that have plagued and humbled so much of humanity since the world was made, EVERYONE expects the US to lead the way. The US is NOT, NOT, I say again, NOT, the world's only remaining Super Power because it has a massive nuclear arsenal, or large debt, or cause they went to the moon, and can out-fight the armed militaries of the remaining countries on earth collectively...oh NO!!! That nation, The United States of America, is the largest oldest democracy on this planet and is composed of our earth's greatest resource: SUPER EMPOWERED PEOPLE! PEOPLE make this world go around and all that tech stuff you are talking about will serve that great nation that remembers that educated voters at the ballot box empowered to believe in themselves makes every tomorrow REAL! Do Not worry so much about the money!
word-
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (1) Feb 15, 2012
@210:

Hopefully Americans will invent money trees, because they are going to need lots of them if Obama and Congress do not get their act together very, very soon!
eric96
1.5 / 5 (2) Feb 15, 2012
Congress only cares about congress, all of the decisions that take place must be good for them; they don't give a ****. Paid to pass SOPA. Always people wanting to fill pockets and keep pockets full. Barrack Obama is fairly useless; he does not act as a commander in chief. He has to 2 powers.
1. I require you to address X expeditiously.
Why, because I require it. Are you challenging my
authority. -Person talks- Go home. Done.
Anyone else? You can't do that, wait for it, wait for it,
"YES I CAN". The appropriate use of the phrase.

2. Yes I approve of X.

You have to fight congress, not bow down to them, you are king, they can only de-thrown you if you error-ed beyond a reasonable doubt.

antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Feb 15, 2012
Hopefully Americans will invent money trees

They already have. It's called the 'Fed'. Whenever a problem looms they just start the printing presses. Allows the government to pay their debts (with the unfortunate side effect of making all the tax-payers savings worthless...but their savings aren't useful to the government anyhow because they cannot be taxed directly - so they tax it indirectly via inflation)

Congress was totally onboard with SOPA but not onboard with this?

SOPA had lobbyists with loads of money (read: bribes). The department of homeland security - evil as it is - does not have the wherewithal to bribe members of congress in such a 'legal' way on the scale that companies do.
Jotaf
not rated yet Feb 15, 2012
210, I was addressing the tone of the politicians. They seem to feel that the only way to make an issue seem important is to paint it in the same colors as events where people die. It's sad when they have to resort to such cheap shots, and IMO it's disrespectful to people who are affected by events that *actually* deserve such language.

I hope you don't think that implies I'm condoning anarchy; I like life in society very much, thank you.