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White House, Cybersecurity Chiefs Back Proposed Legislation

Obama, top federal officials say Cybersecurity Act of 2012 is good enough to help
The White House and some of the U.S. federal government's top cybersecurity officials stepped forward Wednesday to offer their support for the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, a proposed law currently being considered by the Senate.

The sweeping bill outlines a number of new requirements for cybersecurity, including risk assessments to determine which sectors are subject to the greatest and most immediate cyber-risks; critical infrastructure protection and innovation; improved security information sharing; better protection of federal government networks; clarification of the roles of federal agencies; strengthening the cybersecurity workforce; and coordination of cybersecurity research and development.

At a press conference today, four key cybersecurity officials turned out to support the bill: John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism; General Keith Alexander, Commander, U.S. Cyber Command, and Director, National Security Agency; Jane Holl Lute, Deputy Secretary of Department of Homeland Security; and Eric Rosenbach, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber Policy.

"The Administration has repeatedly urged Congress to pass comprehensive cybersecurity legislation to protect the American people from the growing danger of cyber threats," said Brennan in a statement. "The risks to our Nation are real and immediate."

The U.S. CERT organization receives a call about cyberthreats once every 90 seconds, Holl Lute said. The number of cybersecurity events reported has increased by a factor of 20 over the past few years.

While the Senate's bill is in close alignment with recommendations made by the White House, the House of Representatives is still wrestling with a number of bills that are not coordinated with the Senate's legislation. The officials said they hope the House will be able to come up with legislation that is aligned with the Senate version.

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