WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan, chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) subcommittee that oversees emerging threats, released the following statement after President Joe Biden announced that he will nominate Chris Inglis to be National Cyber Director and Jen Easterly to be Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA):
“Following the far-reaching and devastating Microsoft Exchange and SolarWinds breaches, the Biden administration, Congress, and the private sector must work together and double down on our efforts to strengthen our cybersecurity. Amid the pandemic, we have also seen an increase in cyberattacks on our hospitals, schools, small businesses, and local governments, which don’t always have the resources that they need to prevent or respond to these sorts of attacks. President Joe Biden’s decision to nominate Chris Inglis and Jen Easterly to top cybersecurity positions sends a strong signal that the President is focused on bolstering cybersecurity and protecting our national security. As chair of the Emerging Threats and Spending Oversight subcommittee, I look forward to hearing from these cyber experts about their plans to improve our cybersecurity at all levels of government and help ensure that our systems are protected from bad actors.”
Senator Hassan is working on a bipartisan basis to strengthen federal, state, and local cybersecurity. The latest National Defense Authorization Act, which is now law, included a bipartisan amendment that Senator Hassan introduced to create a cybersecurity state coordinator in each state. Recently, Senator Hassan pressed top administration officials on the need to strengthen cybersecurity across all levels of government and the private sector following the SolarWinds and Microsoft Exchange breaches. Additionally, in December, Senator Hassan organized and co-led a hearing on the importance of bolstering cybersecurity for state and local governments and other entities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, in an effort to bolster cybersecurity within the federal government, Senators Hassan and Rob Portman (R-OH) passed into law the bipartisan Hack DHS Act, which establishes a bug bounty pilot program – modeled off of similar programs at the Department of Defense and major tech companies – that uses vetted “white-hat” or ethical hackers to help identify unique and undiscovered vulnerabilities in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) networks and information technology. The Senators also passed into law their bipartisan Public-Private Cybersecurity Cooperation Act, which complements the Hack DHS Act by requiring DHS to establish a cyber-vulnerabilities disclosure program so that vulnerabilities in DHS’ cyber systems can be easily reported and fixed. Senators Hassan and Portman also worked together to pass into law their bipartisan Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cyber Hunt and Incident Response Teams Act, which requires that the Department of Homeland Security make permanent “cyber hunt” and “cyber incident response” teams to work to help prevent cyberattacks at all levels of government and the private sector, and help mitigate the impact of such attacks when they occur.