Murkowski: SECURE IT Act Offers Best Path Forward on Cybersecurity

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today reiterated her support for the Strengthening and Enhancing Cybersecurity by Using Research, Education, Information, and Technology Act (SECURE IT), S. 3342, to protect and secure the United States against cybersecurity attacks. 

“I think there’s near agreement that we need a comprehensive approach to the cybersecurity problem. Some would have us believe that only the Department of Homeland Security and a host of new federal regulations will protect us, but I don’t think granting federal regulators broad new powers is the right approach,” Murkowski said. “Instead, we need a much more nimble approach to deal with cyber-related threats that are constantly growing and constantly changing.”

Murkowski and a number of other Senate ranking members recently introduced the SECURE IT Act, which takes a pragmatic approach to improving cybersecurity by focusing information sharing, FISMA reform, criminal penalties, and additional research. 

The SECURE IT Act will:

  • Improve cybersecurity by collaborating with industry and eliminating barriers to enhanced information sharing.
  • Create expedited information sharing for the private sector using existing structures and reporting relationships. 
  • Require federal contractors who provide cybersecurity-related services to a federal agency to report to those agencies significant cyber incidents related to those services.
  • Strengthen criminal statutes for cyber crimes.
  • Update the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) to modernize the way the government manages and mitigates its own cyber risks.
  • Leverage and strengthen existing programs in cybersecurity research and development.

“What the SECURE IT bill does not do is equally important,” Murkowski said. “It does not simply add new layers of bureaucracy and regulation that will serve little purpose and achieve meager results.”

Murkowski reminded her Energy Committee colleagues that electric utilities are the only critical infrastructure sector that are already required to meet mandatory and enforceable cyber security standards. Congress included cyber protection for the electric grid in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Co-sponsors of the SECURE IT Act are U.S. Sens. John McCain, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Saxby Chambliss, Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Lisa Murkowski, Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Dan Coats, Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, and Ron Johnson, Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, and Richard Burr, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.