The Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack in May helped galvanize lawmakers to protect roads, pipes and electric grids from cyberattacks. Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) told the Post, “This is an incredibly serious threat to this country that’s only growing more serious.” As the Post notes, the bill calls for a new Federal Highway Administration tool to improve transportation authorities’ cybersecurity response and detection. The bill also provides emergency funding for responding to cyber attacks on public water systems. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is instructed to set up incentives for cybersecurity funding and data-sharing among power utilities.
The Senate infrastructure package also allocates more than $1.9 billion for particular cybersecurity programs. As The Hill reports, that includes $1 billion to help state and local governments improve their cybersecurity. The funds would be administered through a four-year grant program at the Department of Homeland Security. A quarter of the spending is set aside for rural communities.
The bill also allows the DHS secretary to declare a “significant incident” regarding a digital attack on critical U.S. infrastructure. This declaration would unlock a five-year, $100 million pot of money to aid affected organizations.
Other allocations in the bill include $35 million to DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency for sector risk management investment, $160 million to DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate for cybersecurity and tech research investment and $21 million for the previously unfunded White House national cyber director office.
As CNBC reports, the infrastructure package also includes tech spending beyond cybersecurity, such as boosts for broadband access and electric vehicles.