Slotkin amendment boosts funding for hunting foreign hackers, protecting cloud services

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U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin

The House Committee on Homeland Security on Sept. 14, 2021, approved an amendment submitted by U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) to increase funding to help hunt for and respond to cyber attacks on cloud networks.

Slotkin’s amendment would provide an additional $60 million to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to hunt down sophisticated cyber attackers — from groups backed by the intelligence services of Russia and China, to ransomware gangs — when they target America’s networks and cloud technology. The funding would also help scale up CISA’s work to make those key systems more secure and harder to attack in the first place.

Given the vast amount of often-sensitive data they hold, cloud platforms — from federal systems to the commercial platforms used by millions of businesses — have become appealing targets for cyber espionage and intrusions over the last several years.

In remarks during the Committee’s markup today, Slotkin said:

“As the SolarWinds campaign showed us, the widespread adoption of cloud technology — specifically by everyone from the federal government to major corporations — has created a really attractive target for attackers. That’s why my amendment gives CISA the resources to take advantage of the opportunities of cloud technology, while also addressing the challenges it presents to better protect American networks. DHS has told us that this investment would ‘dramatically expand’ CISA’s ability to hunt down cyber threats across the board, and it will help them better understand the threats facing federal, state and local and critical infrastructure and inform the way we defend them.”

In May, Slotkin — who sits on the cyber subcommittees of both the House Homeland Security and Armed Services Committees — also introduced the CISA Cyber Exercise Act, a bipartisan bill that would create new ways for American businesses and governments to test their critical infrastructure against the threat of cyber attacks, and establish a National Cyber Exercise Program to test the U.S. response plan for major cyber incidents.

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