House approves bill to enhance cyber information sharing among state, local governments

Under a bill approved by the House of Representatives, state, local, territorial and tribal governments would be able to receive training and information about “cybersecurity threat indicators and response actions” from the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) at the Department of Homeland Security.

According to an update from the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA), the State and Local Government Cybersecurity Act (S. 2520) would permit NCCIC to coordinate, upon request, with state, local, territorial, and tribal government entities on cybersecurity activities. Specifically, NCCIC could engage with willing governmental entities to conduct exercises, provide operational and technical cybersecurity training, assist with information sharing efforts, provide notifications about specific incident and malware information, share information on cybersecurity tools, resources, and policies, and promote cybersecurity education and awareness.

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In conducting these activities, NCCIC would have to coordinate with relevant federal and non-federal entities as appropriate, including the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center. DHS would be required to periodically report to Congress on its engagement with government institutions.

The legislation was originally introduced in the Senate by Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), who said “the federal government needs to step in and take action to help these local communities … to quickly identify threats and seal up vulnerabilities in their information technology systems.”

“Cybercriminals continue attacking state, local, tribal and territorial government networks,” said Peters. “The federal government needs to step in and take action to help these local communities – which often lack the resources to defend themselves – to quickly identify threats and seal up vulnerabilities in their information technology systems. This bipartisan legislation will help local governments provide critical services to residents even in the event of a cyber-attack, and I’ll continue to fight for its swift passage into law.”

The Senate unanimously approved the bill in January, and last week the House passed it by a tally of 404 – 14. It now moves on to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

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