The U.S. Senate unanimously passed the "Strengthening American Cybersecurity Act" on Tuesday in an attempt to bolster the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure owners in the country.
The new bipartisan legislation, among other things, stipulates entities that experience a cyber incident to report the attacks within 72 hours to the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), in addition to alerting the agency about ransomware payments within 24 hours.
Furthermore, affected organizations are required to preserve relevant data and promptly share updates "to a previously submitted covered cyber incident report if substantial new or different information becomes available or if the covered entity makes a ransom payment after submitting a covered cyber incident report."
The Strengthening American Cybersecurity Act of 2022 combines three different bills: the Cyber Incident Reporting Act (CIRA), the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), and the Federal Secure Cloud Improvement and Jobs Act (FSCIJA).
While FISMA incorporates more effective cybersecurity practices, FSCIJA aims to accelerate the deployment of cloud computing products and services, and drive stronger adoption of secure cloud capabilities, create jobs, and reduce dependency on legacy information technology.
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The legislation, now that it has been approved by the Senate, needs to be passed by the House before it's officially signed into law.
"As cyber and ransomware attacks continue to increase, the federal government must be able to quickly coordinate a response and hold these bad actors accountable," said U.S. Senator Rob Portman in September 2021.
"This bipartisan bill will give […] broad visibility into the cyberattacks taking place across our nation on a daily basis to enable a whole-of-government response, mitigation, and warning to critical infrastructure and others of ongoing and imminent attacks."