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'Banner Year' in Attacks Prompts Bipartisan Focus On Cybersecurity

With 2021 a banner year in the severity of cyberattacks, wreaking havoc on organizations large and small has ignited an unprecedented level of bipartisan support and genuine interest on Capitol Hill for strengthening the nation's cybersecurity, the Hill reports. The changes come after one of the most bruising years in history for cybercrime, with a barrage of high-profile and highly damaging attacks in quick succession, like the ransomware attacks on Colonial Pipeline, meat producer JBS USA, IT company Kaseya, and scores of schools and hospitals that were already under pressure from changes due to COVID-19. “I am sensing among my colleagues an eagerness to get involved in this issue, and an eagerness to define or introduce legislation that may not be the big ticket item, but can be a point on the board,” Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), co-chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, said.

While some earlier cyberattacks were more damaging, the Colonial Pipeline incident was the first time many Americans fully comprehended the damage that taking down a critical system could do, prompting attention and concern at all levels of government. The attack intensified efforts to set mandatory cyber incident reporting standards. The Biden administration has made the issue a key priority, including the nomination and Senate confirmation of both former National Security Agency Deputy Director Chris Inglis to serve as national cyber director and Jen Easterly to lead the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).


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