Portman, Hassan Bipartisan Bill to Bolster Cyber Defenses at Department of Homeland Security Signed into Law

January 9, 2019 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The President has signed into law bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) that will help strengthen cyber defenses at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 

The bipartisan Hack DHS Act establishes a bug bounty pilot program – modeled off of similar programs at the Department of Defense and major tech companies – that uses vetted “white-hat” or ethical hackers to help identify unique and undiscovered vulnerabilities in the DHS networks and information technology. Another bill introduced by the two Senators that was also signed into law, the Public-Private Cybersecurity Cooperation Act, complements the Hack DHS Act by requiring DHS to establish a cyber-vulnerabilities disclosure program so that vulnerabilities in DHS’ cyber systems can be easily reported and fixed. 

At a time when cyber threats are on the rise, I’m pleased that the United States government will be better prepared to protect itself thanks to this bipartisan cybersecurity legislation I worked on with Senator Hassan. Our legislation draws upon the vast expertise of hackers and security experts in our country to identify vulnerabilities and report them to the people in positions to fix those flaws in our systems. I applaud the president for swiftly enacting these common sense, bipartisan proposals,” Senator Portman said. 

In the face of ever-evolving cyber threats, strengthening our country’s cyber defenses is vital to the safety, security, and privacy of Granite Staters and Americans," Senator Hassan said. "Our bipartisan Hack DHS Act will help bolster cybersecurity by harnessing the skills and talent of ethical hackers across the country to help identify vulnerabilities in the Department of Homeland Security's systems. I am thrilled to see this bipartisan legislation signed into law and commend Senator Portman for his partnership moving this bipartisan bill forward.”  

Senators Portman and Hassan have worked together on a number of issues to strengthen cybersecurity and prevent attacks that threaten the safety, privacy, and security of Americans. The Senators have also introduced the DHS Cyber Incident Response Teams Act to help prevent cyberattacks on federal agencies and the private sector. The bill passed favorably out of committee in September 2018. Click here to read a joint op-ed in TIME from Senators Portman and Hassan on their Hack DHS Act. Click here to read a joint op-ed in CNN from Senators Portman and Hassan on their DHS Cyber Incident Response Teams Act and their Hack DHS Act. 

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