House unanimously passes bill boosting resources to fight cybercrime

The House on Thursday unanimously passed a bill to provide state and local governments with federal resources to fight cybercrime.

“Local governments often do not have access to the technical capabilities and training required to address highly exploitable cybersecurity vulnerabilities," said Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), the bill’s sponsor.

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The bill would direct the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) cyber hub — known as the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) — to provide state and local governments with technical training and strategic guidance to help bolster their cyber defenses.

The NCCIC is the federal government’s catch-all for cybersecurity efforts, collecting information on hacking threats from both the government and the private sector. The center also employs an emergency response team that works to mitigate fallout from digital intrusions.

Hurd, a former undercover CIA officer who focused on cybersecurity, now chairs the House Oversight subcommittee on information technology and has been outspoken on the vulnerabilities in governmental cyber defenses.

"State and local information systems host a wide range of sensitive personally identifiable information and critical infrastructure data, making them especially attractive for cyberattacks,” he said Thursday.

"My bill will allow state and local governments access to the assistance, training, and tools that are required to secure our nation's information systems and protect our constituent’s information at every level of government,” he added.

Hurd’s effort is the latest congressional move to codify the DHS’s cybersecurity role.

The bill now heads to the Senate, where it awaits further action.