Rounds introduces bill to crack down on Iranian cybersecurity threats

A bill introduced by U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) on Wednesday would require the president to submit a report to Congress on Iranian activities that jeopardize U.S. cybersecurity.

Under the Iran Cyber Sanctions Act, the president would also be directed to assess how much Iran and other foreign governments support efforts to undermine U.S. cybersecurity and to come up with a strategy to counter them.

“Some of the most serious threats facing the United States today are cyberattacks,” Rounds said. “Iran and our other enemies currently use sophisticated technology to carry out cyber-attacks against U.S. businesses and our government. By reporting and sanctioning perpetrators, we can stop additional cyber-attacks before they happen and identify where future threats may come from.”

Rounds’ bill comes weeks after the Department of Justice indicted seven Iranians accused of being involved in a cyberattack against the Bowman Avenue Dam in New York and in a 2011 distributed denial of service attack against the U.S. financial sector.

The bill would require the president to identify those who knowingly engage in cyberattacks against U.S. interests and to describe their activities in a report to Congress. Identified individuals would then be added to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals List that would block access to any assets the identified hold within U.S. jurisdiction and prevent Americans from engaging in business with them.

In order to exempt someone from the Specially Designated Nationals List, the president would have to render an explanation to Congress.

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