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Senators Reintroduce DHS Cyber Hunt and Incident Response Teams Act

United States Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) on Friday announced the reintroduction of the bipartisan Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cyber Hunt and Incident Response Teams Act.

The bill requires the DHS to create permanent incident response and so-called “cyber hunt” teams tasked with mitigating and preventing cyberattacks on private sector organizations and federal agencies.

Initially introduced by Senators Hassan and Portman last year as the “DHS Cyber Incident Response Teams Act of 2018,” the bill authorizes the DHS’s National Protection and Programs Directorate to create teams for assisting owners and operators with restoring services following a cyber incident, detecting intrusions, creating mitigation strategies, and providing recommendations for improving network security.

“By encouraging the private sector and the Department of Homeland Security’s cyber response teams to work together, this legislation will foster collaboration between the best minds in the field of cybersecurity to help fend off cyberattacks and protect vital infrastructure,” commented Senator Hassan.  

“Our cyber response teams play an important role in protecting against cyber threats and help get our cyber infrastructure back up and running after an attack occurs,” Senator Portman said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to pass this bipartisan legislation to ensure that DHS has the authorities it needs to effectively reduce cybersecurity risks.” 

This is not the first cybersecurity bill sponsored by Senators Portman and Hassan. They previously collaborated on the Hack DHS Act, which establishes a bug bounty program for DHS assets, and the Public-Private Cybersecurity Cooperation Act, which complements it by creating a responsible disclosure program for vulnerabilities found in DHS systems. Both bills were signed into law last year.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.