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Portman, Hassan Seek  to Bolster “Cyber Hunt and Incident Response Teams”

February 5, 2018

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH), both members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), reintroduced their bipartisan Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cyber Hunt and Incident Response Teams Act today to help bolster cybersecurity by requiring DHS to make permanent the “cyber hunt” and “cyber incident response” teams that work to help prevent cyberattacks on federal agencies and the private sector, and help mitigate the impact of such attacks when they occur. Cyber response teams play a vital role in helping federal agencies, critical infrastructure, and key private sector partners address cyber challenges and disrupt threats from cyber criminals, cyber terrorists, and hostile countries. 

“Our cyber response teams play an important role in protecting against cyber threats and help get our cyber infrastructure back up and running after an attack occurs,” Senator Portman said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to pass this bipartisan legislation to ensure that DHS has the authorities it needs to effectively reduce cybersecurity risks.” 

“By encouraging the private sector and the Department of Homeland Security’s cyber response teams to work together, this legislation will foster collaboration between the best minds in the field of cybersecurity to help fend off cyberattacks and protect vital infrastructure,” Senator Hassan said. “I appreciate Senator Portman’s continued partnership in our bipartisan efforts to strengthen our country’s cyber defenses and protect the homeland.” 

The bipartisan DHS Cyber Hunt and Incident Response Teams Act authorizes the National Protection and Programs Directorate, under which the cyber response teams fall, and requires DHS to maintain these teams and make them responsible for the following: 

  • Assisting asset owners and operators in restoring services following a cyber-incident;
  • Identifying potential cyber intrusions and cyber risks to its partners;
  • Developing mitigation strategies to prevent, deter and protect against cyber threats; and
  • Providing recommendations to asset owners and operators for improving their network security. 

Senators Portman and Hassan have worked together to strengthen cybersecurity and prevent against attacks that threaten the safety, privacy, and security of Americans. The bipartisan Portman-Hassan Hack Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Act and Public-Private Cybersecurity Cooperation Act were included in a package of bills that were signed into law last year. The Hack DHS Act 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 DHS networks and information technology. The Public-Private Cybersecurity Cooperation Act 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. 

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