An important piece of legislation focused on addressing the cybersecurity challenges faced by the Federal Government is currently awaiting debate in congress. Sponsored in the Senate by Senators Kit Bond of Missouri and Orrin Hatch of Utah, the National Cyber Infrastructure Protection Act of 2010 was introduced in June and aims to set guidelines on what congress should legislate regarding cybersecurity. The bill also authorizes the Cyber Coordinator to coordinate U.S. cybersecurity efforts and creates a voluntary partnership between the government and the private sector, known as the Cyber Defense Alliance. These steps are intended to facilitate the flow of information regarding cyber threats and promotes the sharing of technologies between the private sector and government.
The importance of this bill becomes more apparent in light of a story published on November 17 by United Press International (UPI) reporting the April hijack of US government and military sites by Chinese servers. According to the story, China Telecom advertised erroneous network traffic routes that instructed U.S. and other foreign Internet traffic to travel through Chinese servers. The attack lasted approximately 18 minutes. Read the entire UPI story.
In a statement introducing the bill to congress on June 24 of this year, Senator Bond spoke of the threat presented by cyber attacks:
“These cyber attacks happen every day, but have remained largely under the public radar. Our government, businesses, citizens, and even social networking sites all have been hit. Cyber attacks are on the rise and unless our private sector and Congress start down a better path to protect our information networks, serious damage to our economy and our national security will follow.” Read the entire transcript from the Congressional Record.
This bill is notable because it seeks to create a public-private partnership, which among other things will examine current and emerging technologies available from the private sector as a means to mitigate the threats. Having served as an IT contractor for the DOD for more than a decade, Partnet understands security and the threats presented by cyber attacks. Partnet has developed a number security applications to safeguard sensitive information and thwart external attacks on its servers. Partnet will continue to watch with interest as this bill makes its way through congress.