Gardner introduces bipartisan bill to respond to cyberattacks on U.S.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) on Aug. 23 introduced the Cyber Deterrence and Response Act of 2018, an effort to develop a framework for how America might handle state-sponsored malicious cyber activity.

“This bipartisan legislation is another step that Congress and the administration can take to deter foreign actors from carrying out cyberattacks against the United States,” said Sen. Gardner.

The measure would require the administration to impose sanctions against all entities and persons responsible or complicit in such cyber activities aimed against the United States, according to a summary provided by his office.

U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) joined Sen. Gardner in introducing S. 3378, which is the companion bill to H.R. 5576, unveiled in the House by U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) in April.

“Our legislation will help provide additional tools for the Administration to impose significant costs against malicious cyber actors, including state-sponsored actors, around the world that aim to endanger U.S national security and our economy,” Sen. Gardner said.

In fact, Sen. Coons said that state-sponsored cyberattacks remain a persistent threat to the United States. “Rivals like Russia, China, and Iran are enhancing their cyber capabilities and targeting our electoral process, financial system and critical infrastructure,” he said, adding that the proposal “will expose and impose costs on states that try to use cyberattacks to undermine American security and prosperity.”

According to Sen. Gardner’s summary, among several provisions in the Cyber Deterrence and Response Act, the bill also would mandate the imposition of sanctions from a menu of options against any “critical cyber threat actor;” and authorize the president to waive the imposition of sanctions and the publication of “critical cyber threat actors” on a case-by-case basis.

S. 3378 has been referred to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee for debate. H.R. 5576 is under consideration by four House committees: Foreign Affairs; Financial Services; Oversight and Government Reform; and Judiciary. The House bill has 13 cosponsors, including U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Eliot Engel (D-NY).