Senate passes small business cybersecurity legislation

Senate passes small business cybersecurity legislation
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The Senate passed legislation Thursday that would require the federal government to offer more tools to small businesses to guard their networks from cyber threats.

The legislation offered by Sens. James Risch (R-Idaho) and Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzDemocratic senator: Trump Jr. meeting with Gulf emissary 'absolutely crazy' Hillicon Valley: Senate votes to save net neutrality | Senate panel breaks with House, says Russia favored Trump in 2016 | Latest from Cambridge Analytica whistleblower | Lawmakers push back on helping Chinese tech giant Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Trump official won't OK lifetime limits on Medicaid MORE (D-Hawaii) directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to publish and disseminate resources to small businesses that choose to use the cybersecurity framework produced by the institute.

NIST, a standards laboratory under the Department of Commerce, produces and updates a cybersecurity framework for public and private entities.

Both Risch and Schatz cheered the passage of the bill, citing the massive Equifax data breach earlier this month as the most recent reminder of stark cyber threats to businesses and other organizations. 

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“All too often, these kinds of attacks on businesses—big and small—leave Americans exposed. That’s why we wrote this legislation, so that American small businesses have the tools they need to beef up their cybersecurity and prepare to fight back,” Schatz said in a statement.

Risch said the legislation “will help America’s small business owners safeguard against cyber threats and better position them to protect their assets, customers, and employees.”

“The recent Equifax hack is the latest example of the many vulnerabilities that exist and why we must take urgent, proactive steps to prevent cyber-attacks on small businesses in addition to individuals,” Risch said. 

The Senate Commerce Committee swiftly approved the legislation in April after it was introduced. It has a slate of bipartisan cosponsors, including Sens. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThunePost-Zuckerberg, tech CEOs under pressure to testify Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers target Chinese tech giants | Dems move to save top cyber post | Trump gets a new CIA chief | Ryan delays election security briefing | Twitter CEO meets lawmakers Twitter CEO meets with lawmakers to talk net neutrality, privacy MORE (R-S.D.), the committee chair, and Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonTed Cruz and Bill Nelson give NASA a reality check on privatizing International Space Station Overnight Defense: Senate confirms Haspel as CIA chief | Trump offers Kim 'protections' if he gives up nukes | Dem amendments target Trump military parade Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers target Chinese tech giants | Dems move to save top cyber post | Trump gets a new CIA chief | Ryan delays election security briefing | Twitter CEO meets lawmakers MORE (D-Fla.), the ranking member.