Strengthening American Cybersecurity Act of 2022: Senate Unanimously Passes Bill
In case your company, big or small, suffers a cyber incident, there are new regulations you need to be aware of — The Strengthening American Cybersecurity Act. President Joe Biden signed the bill into law on March 15th, 2022, in response to the surge in cyberattacks and ongoing tensions in Eastern Europe. The Act was passed to ensure both private and public companies are better defended online. The new government regulation will require all businesses to report cybersecurity breaches within 72 hours and ransomware payments within 24 hours.
Brief Summary of the Strengthening American Cybersecurity Act
The Strengthening American Cybersecurity Act is a bipartisan bill that passed the House of Representatives with a vote of 228-194. The Act requires critical infrastructure agencies to report to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) within 72 hours of a substantial cyber-attack. The CISA may subpoena any business that does not report cyber attacks.
The Act is a package consisting of three regulations:
- Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act of 2022.
- Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2022.
- The Federal Secure Cloud Improvement and Jobs Act of 2022
This legislation will provide cybersecurity research and development funding and facilitate voluntary information sharing between private sector companies and the Department of Homeland Security. The Act also requires DHS to create standards for securing internet-connected devices. The Act also authorizes the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) for five years to ensure the quick and secure adoption of cloud-based technologies that improve government operations and efficiency.
The passing of this bill has affected many industries under the umbrella of ‘critical infrastructure agencies .’ A few such sectors include;
- Information technology
- Financial services
- Food & agriculture
Requirements for Reporting a Cyber Attack
Reporting requirements in the event of a cyber-attack or ransom or payment is critical for the United States to acquire information and respond accordingly. The Act specifies the minimum requirements for cyber attacks as follows:
- Report the incident to CISA within 72 hours.
- A complete description of the incident, the vulnerabilities exploited, and the defenses in place.
- If known, contact information or any details about the responsible parties and the type of information that may have been compromised to be disclosed.
- The impacted entity’s details and contact information should be shared with CISA.
For ransomware attacks, the Act requires the information mentioned above as well as:
- The business should report the incident to CISA within 24 hours.
- Information about the Ransomware being requested – the payment date, demands to be met, payment instructions, and ransom amount.
Challenges to Complying With the Strengthening American Cybersecurity Act
If you own a business, whether large or small, you may be wondering how the Strengthening American Cybersecurity Act will affect your corporate. The deadlines set for reporting cybersecurity incidents will strain many companies first to identify the breach and classify it correctly before reporting it. Some of the challenges businesses in the above industries will face include:
Resource Constraints for Operators to Obtain and Maintain Cybersecurity
Larger companies can easily afford to have a staff or external IT consultant or manage service provider monitor and help detect and report these incidents quickly and efficiently. However, many small companies neither have the luxury nor the finances to afford an IT staff or even a managed service provider. They also do not have the technical knowledge or services deployed to detect and effectively remediate breaches.
Lack of Proper Tooling and Instrumentation
Unfortunately, some companies lack the proper equipment to detect breaches in their systems. These undetected breaches can cause a company to lose confidential information that could cost its employees money or endanger their lives.
An efficient solution would be for the government to help fund the necessary services to avoid having a breach in the first place, and help support the remediation and assist in strengthening their internal cybersecurity infrastructure. A promising approach might be to offer small and medium-size businesses an incentive in tax reductions to use those funds to improve their internal cybersecurity infrastructure and employee training.
Another approach would be for the government to employ a reward system. If a company shows that they have done all possible to fortify their defenses and still gets a cyber breach, they should be exempt from any fines that might be imposed and should be offered resources to allow them to recover from their breach. Fifty percent of all businesses have been breached, and the other fifty have been as well, but don’t know it yet. Even with the most profound barriers and the highest walls, a company or organization can still be breached, especially with a targeted attack. It’s not just about preventing and avoiding a breach, but also how to recover after it; we believe the government should help.
The Strengthening American Cybersecurity Act of 2022 has brought about great things like; the CISA that will house all cybersecurity incidents within 72 hours. Allowing federal agencies to adopt cloud-based technologies and forcing sharing of information between federal agencies will help secure the data by forcing identity management for users to access that data.
The unprecedented, bipartisan package should be a great guideline by which communication is followed in the case of a cyber-attack. Unfortunately, this only applies to critical infrastructure organizations or government agencies. We believe and hope that private enterprise will shortly follow with similar requirements.
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