House Republicans on Wednesday released recommendations that encourage industry and government to jointly develop cybersecurity standards and best practices.
“Owners and operators know best how to protect their own systems, and it is nearly impossible for the speed of bureaucracy to keep pace with the ever changing threats,” the House Republican Cybersecurity Task Force said in its report to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. The task force was formed in June to tackle legislative cyber issues.
Among its recommendations for Congress to act on in the near term:
– Provide private companies with voluntary incentives, such as tax credits, to encourage better cybersecurity practices.
– Grant limited liability protection for companies that suffer a breach but meet or exceed mandated standards.
– Create an organization outside of government to serve as a “clearing house” for government and industry intelligence information.
The entity would model the Defense Department’s Defense Industrial Base Cyber Pilot program, where contractors, Internet service providers and the government share classified cybersecurity information.
In August, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn announced that DoD would expand the cyber pilot.
The organization would coordinate with other information sharing groups and agencies, including Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team to provide government and companies with real-time information to target and defend against malicious attacks, the report said. Companies would voluntarily participate in the organization and offered liability protection.
Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Tom Carper, D-Del., praised the task force’s recommendations, while urging passage of cybersecurity legislation.
“We now have broad and bipartisan consensus on the nature of the threat, and on the steps we need to take to address it, both within the government and in the private sector,” Lieberman said in a statement. “As cyber crimes and attacks take an increasing toll on our privacy, economy, and national security, there is simply no reason we can’t pass bipartisan legislation this year to address this urgent and growing threat.”