Congress passes pivotal cybersecurity bill to address growing risks of cyber-attacks

Congress has approved the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014 to strengthen and protect U.S. economic and national security through PPPs to improve cybersecurity and form a reliance on cybersecurity standards; R&D; workforce development and education; and public awareness.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC, Dec. 18, 2014 -- Earlier this week, Congress approved the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014, a bipartisan bill designed to strengthen and protect the nation's economic and national security through public-private partnerships to improve cybersecurity and form a greater reliance on cybersecurity standards; research and development; workforce development and education; and public awareness and preparedness.

The bill, which now goes to President Obama to be signed into law, was sponsored by Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-WV) and Ranking Member John Thune (R-SD). Its passage follows years of efforts to pass federal cybersecurity legislation.

An earlier cybersecurity bill, the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, was defeated in the Senate, however, and its demise prompted President Obama to instruct the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop the U.S. Cybersecurity Framework, which was introduced in February of this year.

As an authority on industrial automation control systems (IACS) security standards and the "Voice of Automation," the Automation Federation (AF) and its founding association, the International Society of Automation (ISA), have worked closely for years with lawmakers in Washington -- Senator Rockefeller, in particular -- to build support for the passage of federal cybersecurity legislation.

At the federal government's request, representatives of both the AF and ISA served as expert consultants to NIST as it coordinated the development of the U.S. Cybersecurity Framework. In fact, long before the president called for a federal initiative on cybersecurity, AF and ISA leaders have been consulting with White House National Security Staff, federal agency officials and members of Congress on the critical need to establish national cybersecurity standards, guidelines and compliance testing.

IACS security standards developed by ISA (ISA99/IEC 62443) are integral components of the government's plans to combat cyber-attack because they're designed to prevent and offset potentially devastating cyber damage to industrial plant systems and networks -- commonly used in water treatment facilities as well as transportation grids, power plants and other vital industrial settings.

Michael Marlowe, managing director and director of government relations at AF, said that the Federation is already in discussions with NIST officials about how to implement the key provisions of the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014 once it officially becomes law.

See also:

"Cyber-attack causes major breach of software controlling critical U.S. infrastructure"

"High-Tech Threats: Top Cybersecurity Issues Facing Water Utility Control Systems"


About the Automation Federation


The Automation Federation is a global umbrella organization of 16-member organizations and six working groups engaged in automation activities. The Automation Federation enables its members to more effectively fulfill their missions, advance the science and engineering of automation technologies and applications, and develop the workforce needed to capitalize on the benefits of automation. The Automation Federation is the "Voice of Automation." For more information, visit www.automationfederation.org.

About ISA

Founded in 1945, the International Society of Automation (www.isa.org) is a global, nonprofit organization that is setting the standard for automation by helping over 30,000 worldwide members and other professionals solve difficult technical problems, while enhancing their leadership and personal career capabilities. Based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, ISA develops standards; certifies industry professionals; provides education and training; publishes books and technical articles; and hosts conferences and exhibitions for automation professionals. ISA is the founding sponsor of The Automation Federation. For more information, visit www.automationfederation.org.

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