U.S. senators recently unveiled the finalized version of a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, which the White House says will allocate roughly $2 billion to improving the country’s cybersecurity capabilities.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes funding for roads, bridges, transportation safety, public transit, railways, electric vehicle infrastructure, airports, ports, waterways, broadband internet, environmental remediation, and power infrastructure.
The White House said this week that the bill will also invest approximately $2 billion to “modernize and secure federal, state, and local IT and networks; protect critical infrastructure and utilities; and support public or private entities as they respond to and recover from significant cyberattacks and breaches.”
The bill, which contains more than 300 occurrences of the words “cyber” and “cybersecurity,” includes the Cyber Response and Recovery Fund, which provides $20 million per year until 2028 for assisting government and private sector organizations respond to cyber incidents.
A total of $550 million has been allocated to enhancing the security of the power grid. Some of the money is for developing solutions to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities, improve the security of field devices and control systems, as well as addressing issues related to workforce and supply chains.
A bill that passed the House of Representatives in July, the State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act, sought a new $500 million grant program to provide funding for cybersecurity to state, local, tribal and territorial governments.
However, the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program, as described in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, authorizes $200 million for 2022, $400 million for 2023, $300 million for 2024, and $100 million for 2025, totaling $1 billion.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act also instructs the Federal Highway Administration to develop a tool to “assist transportation authorities in identifying, detecting, protecting against, responding to, and recovering from cyber incidents.”
Cyber threats and the need to address them are also mentioned a number of times in the sections dedicated to water infrastructure and drinking water, including the Clean Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Sustainability Program, for which $25 million have been allocated for every year until 2026.
It’s not surprising that the U.S. is serious about cybersecurity in the water sector after it came to light earlier this year that hackers had apparently tried to poison the water supply of a city.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) plays a role in the implementation and execution of many of these initiatives.
Reuters reported on Wednesday that the Senate could vote on the bill in the next few days.